As 16-year-old Matthew Gould climbs out of the back of a stretch limo at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the doctor who helped save his life is waiting for him.
Matthew gives him a big hug. Their connection comes from enduring the hardest of times, together.
“Dr. Ryan Summers is a young dude but he is an awesome doctor.” Matthew laughed.
He wanted to know more about how Dr. Summers helps sick kids like him. So he asked to spend some time in the research lab with him. Dr. Summers showed him the cancer cells they took from Matthew’s body when he was first diagnosed.
“I saw the centrifuge. I saw how they extract DNA and label each one. I saw my DNA, too,” Matthew said.
He was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia in 2016. It was stage four.
“I was laying in the hospital bed and feeling weak," he said. "I didn’t expect cancer to happen to me.”
He said it took him by surprise.
“I thought no one would have to go through this.”
After experiencing horrible side effects from chemo, like becoming paralyzed and then re-learning how to walk, Matthew said he made it his mission to make sure other kids don’t have to go through what he did.
When the opportunity came for his Make-A-Wish, his mom joked that she’d love to go to Hawaii. Matthew, however, was set on the chance to help his doctor help other children.
“I decided if I could help other people, I would like to do it," he said. "I wanted to give a lot of money to help him do his research."
He signed his name to a check for $5,000 donated on his behalf to help fight cancer.
As Matthew was focused on everyone else, his loved ones were thinking about him. They planned a celebration at Top Golf. They were chanting his name and holding signs when he walked in the door, still wearing his white lab coat.
Matthew’s wish has been granted but he is not done dreaming about ways to try to stop cancer.
His next goal: “I want to be a doctor,” he said.
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