Matty, 14 (brain cancer)
I wish to throw the first pitch at a Toronto Blue Jays game
Matthew, or Matty as he’s known, is a typical 14-year-old who bobs his head to hip-hop music, plays videogames and prefers his plate heaping with pizza, sushi, or a chocolate and cherry filling infused Black Forest cake.
Matty’s real passion is baseball, a love he shared with his great grandfather who passed away three years ago. He plays the sport and fervently follows the Toronto Blue Jays. At his last Little League game, in the spring of 2021, Matty found the courage to pitch. He struck out the first two batters in six pitches and when the third batter hit the ball, Matty threw to first base and got him out. When it was his turn on home plate, Matty hit two runners in and made it home himself. His mom Tamara said that was the best game he ever played.
The momentum of that game gave Matty the courage to fight through his diagnosis of rare brain cancer that summer. “I don’t remember much of what all I went through, but I do remember when I sat down to go over what I could and couldn’t do with a brain injury,” recalled Matty. “The only thing I asked was if I could play baseball; I was told not at this time but maybe one day.” Matty went through four rounds of chemotherapy, several surgeries, and four weeks of radiation. Following a surgery that removed 80 per cent of his tumour, Matty could no longer walk, or sit up, and had to re-learn how to swallow and talk. His Little League awarded him the Most Inspirational Player award at their closing ceremonies.
Matty is now in Grade 9 and is in his first year of high school. “He is working hard with his physio to slowly be able to do the things he did before,” said Tamara. “He still has a long road ahead of him. We are learning patience.”
On May 15th, Matty’s wish of returning to the baseball diamond came true when he threw the first pitch at a Toronto Blue Jays game at Rogers Centre! The Little Leaguer was accompanied by his parents and younger sister, Kinsley. “The crowd was cheering, and I took a moment to take it all in,” Matty said. “I was sort of getting to live my dream and it wasn’t about cancer or all the complications I had gone through in that moment. I was just Matty doing what I love.”