4 Years Old at Diagnosis
In June of 1990, while in the hospital after delivering her daughter Megan, Susie Hobbs was visited by her husband and their 4 year old son Matthew. While at the hospital Matthew told his dad that he wasn’t feeling well. The next day Matthew told his Dad he couldn’t hear out of his “telephone” ear (he used his left ear when talking on the phone). Matthew visited his pediatrician that day, and was diagnosed with an ear infection. Within a few days his “ear infection” had evolved into severe headaches and lethargy. Within a week of not being able to hear out of his telephone ear, Matthew had an MRI which showed a mass at the back of his head. A neurologist sent the Hobbs family directly to the Charlotte Medical Center (CMC) with a diagnosis of medulloblastoma.
Matthew’s treatment began with radiation, which had the desired effect of shrinking the tumor to half its original size. Over the next 9 months Matthew underwent chemotherapy. It was a rough time for the whole family. He ran a fever after most every treatment, so he spent much of the 9 months of treatment in the hospital, as did his mother.
While Susie stayed with Matthew, Matthew’s dad had to return to work and Megan was lucky enough to spend much of her first year with her loving grandmother. Susie Hobbs learned to let people help and encourages others to do the same when coping with childhood cancer. Susie calls them her “angels on earth.” Much help came in the form of people who showed their love and support by feeding Matthew’s love of sports. One hospital valet would come to the Hobbs’ home and play basketball with Matt when he was well enough. Other hospital staff came to visit his room just to talk sports. People arranged for Matthew to meet famous athletes – Michael Jordan, the Charlotte Knights, the Atlanta Braves and, most importantly, Charlotte Hornet Rex Chapman. Matthew worshiped Rex Chapman. He said to hospital staff on several occasions, “Call me Rex!”
Matthew finished his 9 months of chemotherapy only to have the cancer return with a vengeance. Matthew Hobbs passed away on June 4th, 1991, 11 months after his diagnosis. He was buried in his #3 Rex Chapman jersey.
Susie Hobbs, even 25 years later, is still comforted by others sharing stories with her about how Matthew effected their lives. She encourages those who know someone who has lost a child to cancer to speak up and let the parent know that their child meant something to them. Share a memory. Or help raise funds for research in the child’s name.
The Hobbs family continues to celebrate Matthew’s life by participating in childhood cancer fundraising events. Megan and Susie Hobbs headed up the 18-member team “Matthew3” (the 3 for Rex Chapman) at CureSearch’s 2015 Charlotte Walk. Money they raised will go to CureSearch and its carefully selected research programs, one of which is Dr. William Weiss’ CureSearch-funded work to develop new treatments for high-risk medulloblastoma.
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