Matt's fight for life against cancer didn't start with himself but with his wife, Janel. In the summer of 2013, Janel was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor and was given a frightening prognosis. Her doctors were not giving her a lot of good options. Her doctors were able to cut a portion of the tumor out leaving her with 55 staples in the middle of her head. She was able to do a combination of chemotherapy and radiation on and off for a year with the hopes of shrinking what was left of the tumor. Of course, all while having the most positive spirit and smile on her face despite the uncertainty. Thankfully, she responded well to treatment. The doctors could not cure Janel of her cancer but they could treat her with the idea of keeping the tumor under control. Family and friends around Janel braced themselves with each scan, praying for stabilization and no further growth.
This diagnosis brought to light for so many people around Matt and Janel that they were a force to be reckoned with. They were scared but remained optimistic that they would find a way to battle through back to health for Janel. Their love for one another, their little girls and for the life they had built was carrying them through.
Prayers have been heard and although Janel still lives with her brain tumor, it remains stable and her overall health good.
In the meantime, in the spring of 2015 Matt had been struggling with what he thought was a persistent sinus infection but what his doctor discovered was nasal cancer. Unfortunately, it was a very aggressive form of cancer. Matt vowed to fight as hard as he could despite the odds being against him. At the beginning, while going through intense chemotherapy, most of his clients did not even know he was sick. He was a warrior and would not let cancer get the best of him. To the extent that he committed to run the 2015 Chicago marathon to raise money for the American Cancer Society in honor of Janel. Only to do it again in 2016 between treatments. Both times, he committed to cross the finish line no matter how long it would take him to get there. And with friends by his side both times, he was successful.
While his battle continued, never letting up, Matt kept the most inspiring attitude. He and Janel would be lifting people up around them with their humor and positivity. Matt was willing to attack his cancer from any angle with whatever measure was necessary never letting on how much of a toll it was taking on him physically. He cherished his time with his family and friends, continued working and thankfully was able to have some wonderful experiences with his girls.
Matt died peacefully at his home during the early morning hours of July 10, 2017.
Matt's passion for life was demonstrated in the love for his family, his warrior attack on the cancer that challenged him, his stalker-like enthusiasm of all things Kobe, his committment to his work, his loyalty to his friends and his pure joy over the everyday encounters with people around him. No matter how he was feeling, he consistently brought his best self to whatever he was doing, whoever he was sitting across. As much as we feel cheated of time with Matt, we are all better people to have known him, to have loved him and to have laughed along side him.
Janel, with a strength like no other, is faced with future medical bills for her own health while raising their two sweet girls. We know so many people have asked to help them and this is one area that could provide support for those who otherwise don't know what to do.
Thank you for helping to support Matt's girls in his memory.
- Robin Falconio
- Lorraine Adney
- Jason Hogrefe
Organizer and beneficiary
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