When we are young newlyweds, we believe we have a lifetime to spend together. We take vows to love each other through sickness and through health…through good times and through bad. Laval residents Matthew Schreindorfer and Katia Luciani’s vows have been greatly challenged.

Two years ago, a month and a half after Matthew and Katia were wed, something went very wrong. Upon return from their honeymoon, 24-year old Matthew was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Treatment for Matthew was not available in Canada—only in the US.

Matthew and Katia started a crowdfunding campaign on social media to raise the amount of $650,000 USD required for Matthew’s first CAR-T19 immunotherapy clinical trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Due to the outpouring of heartwarming support from family, friends and strangers throughout the world, they miraculously raised the money required for Matthew’s treatment and survival.

In February 2015, they travelled to MSKCC for Matthew to begin procedures for his treatment. He was infused with genetically modified T-cells on March 18th, 2015. Matthew spent 10 days in intensive care and eventually started to recover. On April 8th, 2015 he was told he was in complete remission. His greatest chance of a long-term cure was to have a bone marrow transplant which took place on May 29th, 2015, even though it would eliminate all the T-cells in his body.

During the last year Matthew worked extremely hard to raise awareness to bring immunotherapies and CAR-T cell clinical trials to Canada. He successfully secured a $57M grant to access these new immunotherapies, however these treatments are not yet available for ALL (Matthew’s particular disease).

Sadly, Matthew’s leukemia has aggressively returned because a gene mutation was discovered, explaining Matthew’s relapses after achieving remissions. Again, the special CAR-T19 cell immunotherapy treatment that Matthew requires is only available in the US at Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA, which is Matthew’s best hope. The cost: $650,000 to $700,000 CAD. The immunotherapy treatment is more promising this year because there are no plans for Matthew to have a bone marrow transplant, as this would eliminate CAR-T cells (when they are present, they can kill any leukemia that returns).

The Fred Hutchison Research Center CAR-T trial targets the CD19 protein which is on all of Matthew’s leukemia cells, making it easier to target and kill these cells. This center has treated over 140 patients who have experienced high success rates with patients in remission 3 years later.

Matthew’s current health is of utmost importance and this setback is extremely difficult for Matthew and his family. Let’s help Matthew and Katia reach their goal. If you would like to make a donation or help, please contact his wife Katia Luciani by e-mail at helpsavematthew.hsm@gmail.com or visit the website: www.helpsavematthew.com or Facebook page at Help Save Matthew.

Matthew, Katia and their family thank you from the bottom of their hearts. Please share their story so that the much needed funds can be raised as soon as possible.