When we met Matt Clancy at Radiothon 2011, he had been receiving treatment for his life-threatening blood disorder for just over a year. Since no one in his family was a match, he was deemed not eligible for BMT at that time. Instead, he was facing a lifetime of drugs and transfusions to keep his blood system working and healthy. Matt’s mom, Tracey, was a Hematology, Oncology, Transplant nurse/educator at the Foothills at the time. Fortunate for him, he was in the best possible care at home and at the hospital.
Over time, the treatment and transfusions stopped working and in Spring 2016, Matt was in relapse and in need of new answers. They were offered the chance to participate in a drug trial or go for a transplant from an unrelated donor. The transplant would give him a shot at a cure, not just another form of treatment. Tracey struggled in the role of mom and BMT nurse and wondered what would be the best course of action for her son as she was well aware of all the potential complications. After a good conversation with transplant specialist, Dr. Victor Lewis, the family was convinced this was going to give Matt the best chance at a full and healthy life.
On July 13th, Matt received his transplant…administered by one of Tracey’s former students – a completely surreal, full circle moment. Since transplant, Matt has done extremely well – a testimony to the less harsh process and improved treatment. Tracey says that this past Christmas was the first time in a long time that she felt a different sense of hope and that she sees her son’s life on a completely new trajectory now that he is cured of his disease.
Matt is in Grade 12 and has just returned to the classroom. As a young boy he felt called to a career in medicine because he knew he would have compassion for children who were sick or in pain.