Michele and Eric Cwiertny wrote -
Matt was a 22-year-old junior art director for Marshall Advertising, who loved the L.A. Galaxy soccer, A.S. Roma, the Flight of the Conchords, The Dandy Warhols, Jack’s Mannequin, The 88, and Will Ferrell movies, when he got a really bad case of mono. We thought he'd recovered until six months later when Matt started getting extraordinarily high fevers, his blood pressure dropped, and his blood counts cratered. His doctors were confounded, especially when they concluded it was not mono. It was only after he went into respiratory failure that his doctors at USC learned he suffered from EBV-induced Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (EBV-HLH), a blood disorder affecting only 1 of every 1,000,000 persons (a bone marrow biopsy proved he'd had mono). While EBV-HLH is not cancer, it acts and is treated like a cancer. The disorder destroys healthy blood cells, and is treated with chemotherapy, and a bone marrow transplant, if necessary. EBV-HLH often induces lymphoma, which it did in Matt. One month after his EBV-HLH diagnosis, Matt learned he was also battling NK T-Cell lymphoma, one of the most aggressive and least researched blood cancers there is.
In December 2008, Matt received his bone marrow transplant. While it temporarily put him in remission, his lymphoma returned in February 2009, and in June 2009, Matt learned it had returned in the form of an inoperable brain tumor. After chemo failed to put him in remission, Matt began radiation treatment. Before finishing it, he was readmitted to the City of Hope in late September 2009. At that time, Matt was in a weakened state, with his EBV levels extraordinarily high that it was debilitating to his liver and kidneys. Unfortunately, the doctors were unable to administer any treatment that could reverse the affects of the EBV and its impact on Matt’s vital organs… And at midnight on October 3, 2009, he passed away with his family surrounding him.
Please help us fund medical research for EBV and EBV-associated diseases, including blood cancers. We need cures and NOW. Let's do this for Matt.
To learn more about the Matt Cwiertny Memorial Foundation and what we want to accomplish, please visit: http://www.mattcwiertnymemorialfoundation.com
P.S. And to read more about what Matt's friends and family have accomplished while raising funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society over the past few years, please read my "Rise" -- Thank you.