CUBA CITY—A personal experience battling cancer has led a Cuba City native to fundraising for a cure.
Matthew Hinderman was born and raised in Cuba City and attended St. Rose and Benton schools before moving away. Now living in Ann Arbor, Mich., Hinderman was diagnosed with Large Diffuse B-Cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, an aggressive blood cancer, in 2013. To help fund research to eradicate cancer, Hinderman formed a fundraising group to participate in the Light the Night Walk in Ann Arbor on Oct. 24. His family, including cousins Kellie Tranel of Hazel Green and Jolene Gross of Blanchardville, drove out to Ann Arbor to take part in the walk as their mother, Diane Tranel, passed away in June from blood cancer.
Hinderman shared his story on a fundraising website, lightthenight.org. He was diagnosed with blood cancer on Oct. 18, 2013, and was transferred from the local emergency room to University of Michigan where he started chemotherapy immediately.
“He told me the form of lymphoma I had was aggressive and it grows rapidly, but that is a good thing because it will respond the same way to their treatment,” Hinderman said. “My body was showing immediate signs of a problem and I had many side effects.”
He explained that he had superior vena cava syndrome—obstruction of the blood vessel carrying blood to the heart—and a pleural effusion—an abnormal amount of fluid around the lung.
“Since the mass in my chest grew rapidly, the side effects from the mass were severe,” Hinderman said. “Others with slow growing tumors are not as lucky. The body can re-route blood vessels around the cancer and there may be no indication someone is sick until it has spread all over their body.”
He compared chemotheraphy to sitting in the ocean, describing it as calm water at first, but eventually feeling like you’re just trying to keep your head above the water.
“As hard as it is to hear that you have cancer, I did consider myself lucky,” Hinderman said. “At first I thought my doctor was wearing rose-colored glasses, but as I began chemo and started my journey, everything happened exactly as my doctor said it would. I felt confident I was receiving the best possible care and I would be fine.”
Every three minutes, someone in the United States is diagnosed with a form of blood cancer,
“No one should ever have to face cancer and the struggles it brings, but millions of people around the world still do each and every day,” Hinderman said.
This year Team Hinderman sponsored memoriam luminaries for the family members lost to cancer. The luminaries lit the way for fellow walkers.
“This year we not only walked for me, but for those in my family who were taken from us by cancer and are not here to walk with us,” Hinderman said.
His team raised approximately $5,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).
“LLS research is on the brink of incredible breakthroughs already changing the lives of thousands of patients, treatments that can manage a person's condition with a daily pill, therapies that seek out and kill cancer cells and the groundbreaking use of a patient's own immune system to eradicate cancer,” Hinderman said.
Hinderman, the son of Larry and Gay Hinderman of Benton, works at University of Michigan supporting medical research.
Light the Night
The Light The Night Walk is a fundraising campaign benefiting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and their funding of research to find blood cancer cures. Coming together for a common goal, friends, families and co-workers form fundraising walk teams. Millions of consumers also help by donating at retail outlets. Culminating in inspirational and memorable evening walks every fall, participants in nearly 200 communities across North America join together carrying illuminated lanterns to take steps to end cancer.
Nationally, Light The Night participants raise an average of $250. The funds assist with research of breakthrough therapies and treatments for patients; provide free patient educational materials, support programs and events; advance advocacy to ensure patient access to treatments; and provide individualized patient assistance.
In his own words…
Matt Hinderman gave a speech at the fundraising walk, a lengthy portion of which is printed below. In his own words, he tells about his medical battle:
I began my career at the University of Michigan 14 years ago working within a service department which supports a wide variety of medical research. Working at the University of Michigan, I passed through the cancer center lobby for well over a decade and walked under the windows of the infusion center for many years never realizing what occurred on the floors above the lobby. It was not until I was a patient there myself did I realized the massive number of people who come from all over to receive their treatment at the University of Michigan. My own journey began in 2013. I attended a Tigers baseball game with a group of friends. I woke up the next day with a cough and I thought I might have had a little too much fun at the baseball game. After numerous trips to the local pharmacy for cough suppressants throat lozenges, and numbing medication. I found nothing worked to stop the cough, I realized I needed to make the first of many visits to my doctor's office. Fast forward 4 weeks and numerous doctor’s visits, I was getting worse and still had no answers. I was growing more frustrated that none of the antibiotics seemed to help; in fact I was getting worse each passing day. I woke up one Sunday morning, took a shower and began coughing again. At my whit’s end, I decided to go into the ER. I thought I would get a breathing treatment and maybe an asthma diagnosis. I fully expected to be home by that afternoon to cut my grass. The ER physician sent me to get a CT scan and after 4 hours returned to the room with a look on his face I will never forget. He put his trembling hand on my shoulder and told me I had a mass growing in my chest a little larger than a grapefruit. They would need to perform further tests to determine what type of mass this was. He said I would have to be admitted. I could continue my testing at their facility or I could go to U of M where my insurance is readily accepted. Within 5 minutes I was on my way to U of M in an ambulance, the look on his face and his tone and demeanor made the choice really easy. The next day, they took a biopsy of the mass and a bone marrow biopsy from my hip. It took about a week to get an official diagnosis. While I waited for the results, the mass cut off the blood flow to my heart and I was diagnosed with superior vena cava syndrome. My right lung was filling with fluid and eventually it completely collapsed making it very difficult to breathe. One month after I woke up after the Tigers game, I was officially diagnosed with Large B Cell non Hodgkin lymphoma. My oncologist informed me this type of lymphoma grows rapidly and is aggressive, but my bone marrow test showed no signs of disease. He said these types of cancers normally grow quickly and respond just as quickly to chemotherapy. He believed there was no reason I should not be able to make a full recovery. As I began treatment, I got very sick, but the cough went away. As treatment progressed, everything happened just as my oncologist said it would so I felt confident I had made the right decisions pertaining to my health.