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Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)
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Matthew is a caring 16-year-old who loves driving his ATV, hunting, fishing, camping and playing video games. In September 2002 at almost 2-years-old, Matt was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Matt had petechiae – broken blood vessels – on his calves and forearms. His mom, Tammy, brought him to the pediatrician the day she noticed the marks. Their doctor knew something was wrong and sent them to a nearby hospital for bloodwork. Two hours later, the doctor called to explain the diagnosis and told them to drive to Hackensack University Hospital in New Jersey.
At that point, both Tammy and her husband went numb. They held themselves together as best they could while driving to the hospital with their other two children alongside Matt. They arrived to find a team of doctors and social workers waiting for them. There were multiple tests and Matt had a port put in two days later.
His chemotherapy started and he went into remission in a week. After staying at the hospital for a few weeks, Matt had his scheduled treatments. His treatment protocol was two and a half years. His sister Stephanie and brother Andrew were a big help to their brother during his treatment years ago.
His mother hopes and dreams that they never have to face this monster again. Their dream for Matt is to have a happy, healthy life and exceed his own goals and dreams. Matt is his mom’s hero because as a 2-year-old he fought off the biggest monster ever!
Tammy wants others facing a cancer diagnosis to know the best way to face it is to keep a strong bond, pray and ask plenty of questions. They believe in Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation because it represents the hope that a cure will be found!
Hero Quote: “Live well and stay strong!” – Benanti Family
Information provided by Tammy Benanti, Matthew’s mother
Updated August 2017
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