On December 28, 2014, my grandson Matthew celebrated his
23rd birthday. Every birthday is a Great Celebration because, in 1993, when he was 18 months old, Matthew was diagnosed with liver cancer (hepatoblastoma). The treatment for his cancer included two major surgeries and months of chemotherapy. He ultimately received a liver transplant in April of 1997 and he is now doing very well.
Between 1993 and 1997, I often went to the Internet to get as much information as possible. I wanted answers -- not just medical answers, but also inspiration from other families on how to cope, and some hint of what to expect. Matthew's story has been on the Web since early 1998. Since that time, many people from all over the United States and around the world have written to me, saying it helped them replace isolation and despair with feelings of hope and kinship. Please note in the
links that I have added updates each year. The book I mention in the February 2000 update would be of special interest for parents just beginning the long journey of dealing with a seriously ill child. A new edition came out in 2002.
The story is a consecutive narrative; but if you want to read certain
parts, follow the link buttons to the experiences covered in each part.
* * * * *
No story about Matthew would be complete without
paying a tribute to organ donors.
The green ribbon
lapel pin is the symbol of support for organ donations. The color green
signifies new life.
Scientists continue to work on stem cell research and
technicians are working to develop artificial organs and some donations
can be made from living donors. But at this time, most organ transplants
depend solely on donations from cadavers. Thousands of people wait for a
life-saving organ transplant and it is crucial that family members know
each other’s wishes about organ donation before tragedy strikes.
Families that have consented to organ donation often
express feelings of comfort and solace from knowing that their tragedy has
helped to save the life of another. It is ironical and mystifying that a
triumph such as Matthew’s can only come out of the tragedy of some
family’s traumatic loss. This page is dedicated to organ donors and their