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Community Pediatric Cancer Brain and Spinal Cancer

Baseball, Brain Tumor and Bravery: Matthew’s Story

Author Taylor Abarca | Publish Date September 9, 2016

When Matthew Murray started experiencing some double vision after school during baseball practice his mother took him to be checked out by an eye doctor. They were told not to be too concerned unless his double vision became constant. Less than two weeks later during a double-header game, Matthew’s double vision would not go away.

“We knew that something was wrong,” says Julie Murray, Matthew’s mother. “We were sent to a specialist and a scan of Matthew’s head was completed. I was never expecting to hear the news I got the next day.”

During work Julie received a phone call and learned that they found a tumor in Matthew’s brain.

“They told me to go pull Matthew out of school and go the emergency room at Children’s Hospital Colorado,” she says. “After that phone call I was overcome with fear, guilt and so many other emotions. I just wanted to get to the hospital to figure out what was happening.”

Julie picked up Matthew from school, unsure of what to say to him.

“Because of the traffic, our drive to the hospital seemed to last an eternity. Unable to maintain my composure, I was crying profusely. I prayed to my grandmother and mother to help my son,” says Julie. “Matthew kept asking me what was wrong. I didn’t know how or what to tell him other than, ‘I love you son, you’re going to be okay’. It took over 6 hours from the initial phone call before we met with Doctor Foreman to learn more about Matthew’s brain tumor and prognosis.

A subsequent MRI revealed that Matthew had Germinoma (GCT), a rare and fast-growing brain tumor. According to the National Institute of Health GTC’s represent less than four percent of primary brain tumors in children.

Matthew’s new “home away from home” was Children’s Hospital as he went through six months chemotherapy and five weeks of daily radiation treatments. Unfortunately his treatment was far from easy and Matthew suffered extreme weight loss and began losing his hair soon after the 1st round of Chemo. He also developed an allergic reaction to the chemo medication that was being administered.

Despite the difficulties Matthew encountered during his treatment he continued to play baseball for Westminster High School, Shaw Heights Little League, Thunder Baseball Fall Ball, and Jefferson Academy Legion Baseball (with double vision!)  He also exceled academically and was one of only two sophomores placed in Chamber Orchestra, the most advanced class. He has even registered with the C.U. Succeed Program and Pre-Collegiate Development Program. Matthew continued to work at Adventure Golf and Raceway in Westminster through his treatment and still works today.

“I was diagnosed with Cancer at the end of my high school freshman year. I did not let cancer hinder my ability to do anything,” says Matthew. “If anything, it has motivated me even more to reach my lifelong goal of being a professional baseball player.”

In order to correct the double vision caused by the brain tumor Matthew has undergone two eye surgeries. He will continue to be monitored in the future.

“Matthew will continue to go to Children’s Hospital for follow-up MRIs every 3 months,” says Julie. “With cancer there are no guarantees, but we continue to hope and pray for positive outcomes and results.”

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