Matthew Riley
Cedar Grove, WI

Matt was diagnosed with a lemon size brain tumor in the posterior fossa in December 1997. He was 3 months short of his 13th birthday. It was a medulloblastoma. He had severe hydrocephalus, which was causing the tumor to herniate into the spinal canal and displace the brainstem.

The tumor had also infiltrated his brainstem. Matt underwent 10 hours of brain surgery and required physical therapy to regain his sense of balance and strength in his right hand. He then underwent 6 weeks of whole brain/spinal radiation while receiving weekly chemo. After a short break he had 48 weeks of chemotherapy requiring frequent hospitalizations. He missed half of seventh grade and most of 8th grade due to treatment. He went to school when he was able and worked hard with a tutor to keep up with his classmates.

Matt completed treatment the end of February 1999. The treatment has left Matt with many medical issues. He has short-term memory loss and speed of processing issues. He has high frequency hearing loss in the one ear and lost 1/4 of the vision in his one eye and has blind spots in the other eye. He has endocrine issues, which include adrenal insufficiency, hypothyroidism and growth hormone deficiency. He also suffers from central apnea/hypoventilation syndrome which, causes his brain to not tell his lungs to breathe deep enough and when he sleeps, his brain forgets to tell his lungs to breathe. He is hooked to a bipap breathing machine at night. He also has an enlarged heart, kidney impairment, hand tremors and fatigue issues. In August 2002, they thought that Matt had relapsed and he once again had brain surgery. This time they found out that he has developed radiation necrosis to the temporal/parietal area of his brain from treatment.

Matt has had to face many medical problems and has had 17 admissions to the hospital over the past 5 years. This has not stopped Matt from living his life to the fullest. Matt became an Eagle Boy Scout at the age of 15. He also had gone on to earn 3 Eagle Palms. He went to school half days his senior year in high school so that he could take college classes at the local college. He graduated on time with his class with a 3.495 G.P.A. He was a member of his National Honor Society and president of the Media Club at school.

September 2003, finds Matthew starting college in his pursuit of a degree in computer science-end user technology. He will be living in the dorms, 2 hours from home. He is determined to get on with his life and spread his wings.