Caring for the Camerons
Matthew, his wife Tatiana "Tajci" and their three boys toured the US for 15 years and completed over 1,000 FREE concerts. They inspired hundreds of thousands of people to heal, have faith and believe that with God all is possible. She performed, he booked and managed the tours.
They decided to stop touring extensively and find other work after their boys expressed their desire for a "normal high school experience". Tajci would continue to perform and develop other work that would allow her to stay close to home (wakinguprevolution.com ). Matthew began to develop a video-marketing company Stormlight Pictures which was just taking off when they got this devastating news. As it's with all solopreneurs, there is no security, no steady income, no sick leave, no benefits other than what their own work brings.
Matthew and his family need financial assistance to pay medical and living expenses that lie ahead while they focus on battling the cancer.
Read Matthew's beautiful letter (below) in which in his own words he expressed his thoughts, hopes and needs...
A note from Matthew:
Hello humans on planet earth!
You are, by far and away, my favorites. I've led an interesting life which, by the sounds of it from our meeting with my Oncologist yesterday, might be over soon. But don't worry, I figure I've already lived five lives' worth of adventure, laughter, joy, work and (I feel this immensely today) love in my 46 years.
I'm not a goner just yet, and am still the most "full of life" person I know - and I plan to fight this cancer with everything I have (and everything science and good healthy food and love and miracles have to offer).
Turns out I have the "most common" lung cancer for non-smokers (I was shocked that there WAS such a thing). It is called adenocarcinoma of the lung. I am stage four (which means it has spread from the lungs and "generously" seeded itself around my body - so kind!)
We are hoping that I might be a match for some sort of trial or immune therapy things (forgive me - I don't speak cancer very good...er... well). That said, the normal route is chemotherapy. The average life expectancy for someone in chemo with this cancer at this stage is one year. That, to me, is a bit bleak.
To all of you people like me who have chosen not to smoke, do drugs and live healthy lives, you might think this is a raw deal. But consider that I've been to 28 countries (you can read about my pre-marriage travels here: The Tumbleweeds) and have personally booked, driven to, set up, and torn down over 1,000 concerts (in all but three of the contiguous states).
I also married a pop star from Croatia named Tajci (pronounced Tie-chi) which led to more travels and adventures! And I have three wonderful, handsome, intelligent and balanced sons (Dante Xavier - 16, Evan Amadeus - 14 and Blais Ludvig - 11).
- I grew up in Indiana and fulfilled my dream and learned to surf.
- I proposed while waiting for the sunrise under the Hollywood sign in LA.
- I've watched countless sunrises from Mount Sinai to the plains of Kansas.
- I've earned and lost a fortune.
- I've fought - hard - for my marriage and it is my proudest accomplishment today.
"They" tell you to have enough set by to cover your expenses for three months in case of emergency - we do.
I also have life insurance.
The trouble is, and it will come, how to 'get by' when I become a burden and before the end.
I spent my life helping others achieve their dreams, goals, plans. (Most people I worked with leaned towards artists, entrepreneurs and people pursing a passion, seem to have a "thing" that drives them.) Most of that time I also wondered "what is my "thing". It was not so very long ago (while listening to Simon Sinek's "Start with Why") that it finally came to me that my "thing" was people.
I think people are amazing - my favorite. To that end, I started Stormlight Pictures and the concept "FilmYourWhy".
If you are a human on earth, I can say with almost perfect certainty - I love you.
If you can take a minute and say a prayer for me, send me some positive energy and/or, if you have the means, kick in a few bucks to take off the financial pressure in this time of uncertainty - I'll be personally grateful.
If you can, alternatively, book my INCREDIBLY talented wife Tajci (Tie-chi) for your event (whether it be jazz standards, or a talk, or a workshop or concert in your church) that would be wonderful. (You simply cannot imagine how much it would ease my mind to have two concerts a month for her lined up for the next two or more years.) Click here if you'd like to help!
OR... let me help you tell YOUR story and promote your business. (I told you I was still full of life :) Visit www.StormlightPictures. com and check out our commercials, music videos and stories. Our work is designed for the modern world and to be deployed on social media and youtube. Once you look, you'll see that my love for you translates into helping you connect with your potential audience or customer.
My goal here wasn't to write and to pitch you. I'm a "do-er" and a worker. I'd rather earn my bread than beg for it. But, in all humility I have to tell you I'm begging (just a bit) for your help. I'd love for you to put me (Stormlight) to work or for you to book Tajci. If that isn't possible and you'd like to make a donation - I'll be personally grateful. Mostly, pray for us.
Okay, this is complicated. The good news is that I tested positive for the EGFR genetic mutation. "Huh," you might be asking yourself. "How is that good news?" Well let me tell you. I've learned a lot in the last couple of weeks.
In the last five years or so, there are certain drugs that target certain genetic problems in cancer that seem to work for years. In some cases, up to nine years (which is as long as the drug has been out). So this is not chemo. This is not radiation. This is not immunotherapy. This is a drug named Tarceva ( http://www.tarceva.com/patient/) that targets (as I understand it) my PARTICULAR genetic mutation on a genetic molecular level. It's equivalent to putting a cork in my "genes gone wild" cells, which have been spewing out a bazillion cells that are causing the tumors.
So I've been on the drug for two weeks. They tested me on Friday, looking for trouble (like my body's not agreeing with this drug) but they found NO problems whatsoever. Everything seems to be hunkydory!
I'm not supposed to see results for a month (or two, or three). BUT, as you know, the cancer is in my spine, cracking the vertebrae. I went from not being able to pick up a fork and being in a LOT of pain to being able to dress myself and eat by myself and even sit in a chair without ANY pain (granted, I have to sit in a recliner because of my cracked vertebrae, but STILL -- I'm SITTING!!!) So, our conclusion is that the cancer is moving off of the spine or taking the pressure off, but we don't know for sure yet.
The good news is that this is LITERALLY a one-pill-a-day solution to Stage IV cancer -- which is INSANE.
We really don't know what to expect. And because the drug is new, no one knows what to expect. Everyone is being very cautious and the doctors in particular are saying, "We're confident we can push this cancer back. But it's going to continue to mutate." The good news is that they can switch me to four different drugs, or any combination of the four. The doctor says they've even had good luck switching people BACK to the original drug as the cancer mutates and it STILL seems to be effective.
So that's the nuts and bolts of the cancer situation as we know it at this moment. Me personally, I'm weaker than I've ever been. I've lost 34 pounds (and I'm not trying to lose weight). My pleural area gets drained about once a week, and they get out between 650 mL and 2 liters of fluid. When I start to fill up, I start having trouble breathing. During the day, I can control the natural panic that is associated with not being able to breathe. At night, it's hard. The hardest are the moments between falling asleep and being asleep. I'll have involuntary panic attacks. I'll literally fall asleep and jerk awake hundreds of times in a row, literally with each breath. That tires me out. They just gave me anti-anxiety drugs, which I haven't used yet, but just HAVING them there has helped me to calm down.
I think what I've learned is that it's one thing to be brave in the daytime. It's another when you're alone at night and you can't breathe. I'm grateful for Tajci because she sits with me for as long as it takes. It gives me a lot of respect for people that are struggling through these things, whether it be cancer or something else, alone. Because the fear is real. Even with faith. So maybe think of those people if you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Think of the person who's afraid and alone and pray for them. For just a few minutes. Just be with them. Even if you don't know who they are or they're far away. And if you think of it, be with me too. I'll be thinking of you!
PS: PLEASE don't be shy to reach out to us to put us to work! I'm happiest when I'm busy.
Tajci: www.idobelieve.com www.wakinguprevolution.com
I wanted to share this update post straight from Matthew--and his heart. Oh, how we love this wonderful family!
Thank you all so much for your amazing generosity - I've been on overwhelm all week. We just found out what was happening with me (lung cancer) Monday of last week. Since then the outpouring of love, help and your incredible financial support has been breathtaking.
I was supposed to find out the results of the biopsy (whether I'm a match for any immune therapy) today. God arranged it (ahem) so that we can wrap up the novena tomorrow and get the results on Friday instead.
I don't plan on doing a medical play-by-play here. I do want to tell you that I'm blown away that so many people ... love me. It is easy for me to love people - super easy. But being loved... harder. (I'm sure this is a part of my marriage struggles I'm trying to understand.)
Remember the scene in scene in "Good Will Hunting" where Robin Williams character is telling Matt Damon's character "it's not your fault"?
That is almost exactly how I reacted from all of the love showered upon me this last week. Take a look and replace "it's not your fault" with the "I love you Matthew" I received from ALL of you and you'll get my reaction almost exactly.
My dear humans on earth - your outpouring cracked opened something in me.
Maybe that is what God wanted.
(Insert Matt Damon Language warning on the You tube clip below) :-)
This is when it hurts the most to be unemployed and not be able to give more to those who are always giving. Tajči was an idol since I sang her "Hajde da ludujemo" and "Moj mali je opasan" in first grade for school performance, but she is one of a kind who traded her stardom for the love of people and modesty, and is a leading example for humanity. I hope Croatian community in US remembers that and unites in helping.
It's always unexpected... And my heart is with your family. For the short time i knew you i became a fan and a friend you can count on! Sending you my best uplifting wishes and consider my house open for your needs. That what friends for- to be a help in such time. I do my best to promote Tajci for events, my gallery is for you to use for any promotion at any time! let's do Concert to Life while we all here. Invite friends and do fundraising there! I am with you.
Hey, Matthew. We met you guys last year around this time and you and Tajci were so kind to our son Alex. Inviting him to stay with you guys and be interviewed with Tajci. What an amazing experience for all of us. We are so sorry, deeply sorry to hear of this present struggle you guys are going through. We will start praying like crazy for you and share some prayers with you. We have seen in the last couple of years some people be cured completely from stage four, but one of the main ingredients was total faith that it was possible, like no doubt. And we will help you guys financially when we can, since I have been out of work for a while too. God Bless you and your family!!
Keep the faith, Matthew. You are awesome!