“Through CaringBridge, I’ve learned that the ability to communicate with others is crucial when battling a grave illness or disease. People’s support has been vital to getting through what I’ve gone through.” – Dr. Matt Dudley
As a physician undergoing cancer treatments far from home, Dr. Matt Dudley relied on the love of family and friends.
Things moved pretty fast once Matt was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in March of 2013. The night of his diagnosis, he was on a plane from Alaska to Seattle for treatment and began chemo two days later. He barely had time to say goodbye to his two young boys.
CaringBridge Connects and Records Memories
It was hard to be so far from his family and Matt worried that his kids weren’t going to remember him. That’s where CaringBridge came in.
“I started using CaringBridge as a way to inform friends and relatives but quickly realized it was a way to record some moments of my life for my boys,” Matt says. “CaringBridge was a fantastic way to communicate and let our friends know what was going on.”
During his leukemia journey, Matt relied on his parents to help keep everyone updated, including people in his hometown of Steamboat, Colorado. The love of family and friends was critical to maintaining a positive attitude.
“People’s support has been vital to getting through what I’ve gone through and I’ve been grateful to reconnect with old friends,” he says.
Providing Hope and Comfort During a Difficult Time
As a physician facing cancer, the support Matt received on CaringBridge changed how he now treats patients.
“As a young doctor I was always taught to listen and try to build rapport with patients,” Matt says. “Now I think it’s more important to take the time to chat with patients and learn what’s going on and why they are asking for my help and care. If I can check on them via their CaringBridge website I can have far better insight into their lives as they travel through their experience. It’s no longer just about treating the patient but also about providing them with hope and comfort during a difficult time.”
Spreading the Word
Matt now spreads the word about CaringBridge through a class he teaches for first-year medical students. Matt shares how CaringBridge made a difference for him and instructs his students on informing their patients about the benefits of CaringBridge.
Head Up, Heart Strong
Matt’s motto these days is Head Up, Heart Strong. He says, “We are all stronger than we think. You can get through things you can’t expect.” He shares his story in this inspiring video.
If you’d like to join Matt in spreading the word about CaringBridge, check out our volunteer opportunities.