Prior to his departure in August of last year, a convoy of fire trucks escorted Matthew and his father Steve Temby to Melbourne Airport for the initial 11-week week course of treatment at Washington’s National Institutes of Health.
Since that first trip, Matthew and his dad Steve Temby have been back to the US twice more—in early January and late February for follow-up treatments.
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Matthew and Steve are this week preparing to pack their bags for their fourth visit to Washington and so far, early results are a cause for optimism.
“The tumour appears to have shrunk in size,” said Steve Temby, the third lieutenant at Doreen.
“Matthew’s problem was that the tumour was so large that it was pressing down on his windpipe, making him wheeze and unable to breathe properly.
“And because it is large, the thyroid cannot be operated on until the tumour has reduced in size. “
Matthew is on the trial oral drug Vandetanib, a medication he is likely to continue on until the end of 2011. At that point, doctors will assess whether the drug has reduced the tumour sufficiently to allow surgery to be undertaken. For the present, Matthew will continue to use a tracheotomy tube to aid his breathing and additional trips to the National Institutes of Health are planned throughout the remainder of 2010 and into 2011.
Steve Temby said Matthew, who is 13 years of age, was progressing well and his physical condition had improved.
“He can run now, whereas before he had trouble breathing, and he has put on nine kilos, which is great news, “said Steve.
“He tries to be as active as possible. The Doreen CFA juniors, and in particular junior coordinator Jenny Maries, have been fantastic, involving Matthew in all of the brigade’s activities.
“Matthew also has had a lot of support from his school, Diamond Valley College, and in particular, his teacher David Finlayson. Matthew is attending school four half days per week and has a carer with him to help him through the school day.
“There are things he needs to be mindful of, obviously. Because of Vandetanib, he needs to be careful he’s not out in the sun for too long, otherwise he gets very bad sunburn. There was one occasion, where a little bit of sun exposure caused him to have pretty bad blisters.”
Steve praised his son’s attitude, saying Matthew never had a “whoa is me” attitude.
“Matthew’s like ‘OK, I’ve got cancer but I’ll beat it’, which is exactly the attitude you would wish for.”
Doreen Junior coordinator Jenny Maries echoed Steve Temby’s sentiment, saying Matthew had displayed tremendous courage. She said soon after the diagnosis of Matthew’s condition, the Doreen juniors rallied around him
“The kids started a chocolate drive to raise money for the trust fund set up to help cover costs. When Matthew got better a little later on, we invited him to join the team for the 2010 Regional and State comps, to have him around everyone. We had special competition shirts made up and Matthew was given his own shirt with his name on the back. We also asked him to be our photographer for the comps, which he was very excited about.
“Everyone is so pleased to see him well and we want to ensure he gets all the support possible,” Jenny said.
Steve Temby said the support from friends, family, work colleagues and especially the CFA has been tremendous.
“Without the support of the CFA, I don’t know where we would be today,” he said.
Matthew Temby Trust Fund details
Tax deductible donations can only be made using Visa Card, MasterCard or PayPaypal at Matthew's Every Day Hero webpage.
Non-deductible donations can be made by direct deposit and EFT to account number 633 000 137 812 616 with the Bendigo Bank. Cheques can be made out to ‘The Matthew Temby Fund’ at P.O Box 59, Doreen, Vic, 3754.