Help Matt and Marie Beat Cancer
Organized by: Tyler Kent
Dear Friends and Family of Matt and Marie
March 22, 2016
THE CALL TO ACTION!
Matt Pennington and his wife Marie urgently need our help! They recently discovered that Matt has an exceptionally rare and aggressive form of kidney cancer called Renal Medullary Carcinoma (RMC). It is so rare, there is essentially one expert in the entire country, and he works in Houston at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. Thankfully, Matt and Marie have made the trip to consult with him and begin chemotherapy treatment. With the rapid nature of this particular cancer time is of the absolute essence.
Both Matt and Marie are employees with a local hospital network in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Even with a solid health insurance plan, Matt’s treatment options are few and are proving to be cost-prohibitive. We are asking for your kind and generous donations to give Matt the best possible treatment, care, and management of his cancer and a fighting chance to save his life.
MATT PENNINGTON: THE MAN, THE MYTH, THE LEGEND…
For those of you who know Matt (lovingly referred to as “Penni”) we don't need to tell you how special he is to so many people. He has made an indelible and enduring mark on our lives and hearts simply by being the incredible person he is! At 37 years of age, he and his wife Marie have been married for four wonderful years. His personality wells over with a lively, animated, and vivacious confidence. His animated sense of humor is witty, intelligent, and unabashedly irreverent. To be in his presence is to come face to face with a large and generous energy that is immediately welcoming and friendly. He is a good-natured man of conviction and character and is an amazing friend to many.
Matt has many talents—writing, singing, composing music, and knowing everything about comic books chief among them. He and his wife enjoy taking road trips with friends across the country to see live music. But his biggest talent is bringing people together. He loves spending time with his wonderful family—especially his parents, brother and sister-in-law, half sisters, and nephews. In addition to his family, he is absolutely the core and beating heart of a large group of friends. He has brought together a creative and lively group, which has truly become FAMILY. So much so that one couple wouldn't be married today if he hadn't brought them together. Matt is as much our brother by friendship, as by blood.
As his collective network of family and friends, we come together here to support Matt in every way possible through his journey to beat cancer!
MATT’S DIAGNOSIS & JOURNEY WITH RMC
Matt’s journey began in late 2015 when a mass was discovered in his kidney after treatment was unsuccessful for what seemed at the time like a kidney infection. A biopsy revealed that the mass was cancerous, though the type of cancer could not be determined.
It was believed at the time that the mass was well contained in the kidney, and Matt, Marie, and the doctors decided to proceed with a nephrectomy. During the operation, more cancer on the blood vessels outside the kidney was found and removed along with the entire kidney. Again, the cancer proved difficult to type, and it wasn't until a sample was sent to a lab in Indiana that it was discovered that Matt has Renal Medullary Carcinoma, an extremely rare kidney cancer. Since then, we have learned that his Stage 4 cancer has metastasized to multiple areas.
The situation is serious, but Matt and Marie have vowed to fight with everything they have. They are currently working with a team of doctors in Albuquerque and cancer specialists at MD Anderson in Houston, TX. Matt has now received his first round of chemotherapy and a treatment plan has been established to try to contain and eradicate this vicious cancer.
THE SCIENCE – WHAT IS RENAL MEDULLARY CARCINOMA (RMC)?
“RMC is found almost exclusively in patients of African decent with sickle cell hemoglobinopathies, although it has been rarely reported in Caucasians (<10 cases). It is a rare disease with an estimated 150 reported cases to date, mostly in patients with sickle cell trait or rarely sickle cell disease. It appears more common in males with a 2:1 ratio observed in adults. Age at presentation ranges from 5 to 69 years with a mean of 19. RMC commonly presents with flank pain and hematuria. By the time of presentation, 95% of patients have evidence of metastasis.” (1)
“RMC is a highly aggressive cancer with an extremely poor prognosis. Treatment is difficult. Neither chemotherapy nor radiation therapy has been found to be particularly efficacious. Treatment options are limited, as most standard therapies have not been found to be efficacious in RMC. Researchers continue to explore the molecular drivers of this rare disease, but few clinical correlations have been made.” (2)
So, what does all of this science mean???
Since RMC was officially described in 1995, there have only been 150 reported cases!!! To say that RMC is rare does not do it justice. We are all still in a state of shock that Matt is one of the few reported cases with this type of cancer. But Matt is anything but a statistic! While RMC has proven to be rare and fatal, we are giving ALL we can to give Matt a fighting chance to live.
Adebiyi, Temidayo “Renal Medullary Carcinoma” (2014), Digital Commons, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
“Renal Medullary Carcinoma: A Case Study and Brief Review of the Literature,” The Ochsner Journal (Summer 2014), Aditya Shetty, MD Dept of Genitourinary Medical Oncology, U of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston TX and Marc R. Matrana, MD, MS Dept of Hematology and Oncology, Ochsner Clinic Foundation, New Orleans, LA
HOW DOES MY DONATION HELP?
Your generous donation will make an immediate impact for Matt, Marie, and their extended families to assist with covering medical expenses for Matt’s cancer treatment. Matt and his family are anticipating large out-of-pocket expenses for the specialized treatment options, which are absolutely necessary to effectively target RMC.
Your donation will provide peace of mind. We have all heard of the devastating scenarios of families falling into tremendous debt from unavoidable medical expenses, even with good health insurance.
Your donation will have a long-term impact on future RMC research. One of the major therapy goals is for Matt to participate in a clinical study, which will give him access to specialized treatment for RMC. We can only hope that the data collected from this study will help future patients to overcome RMC!
Once again, time is of the essence. Please consider making a donation today that is significant for you and your family. On behalf of Matt, Marie, and his entire support system of family and friends, we wholeheartedly thank you for your generosity!