LLS Fundraiser

Matina’s Visionaries of the Year Fundraiser

October 30, 2013, just a month after celebrating my 27th birthday, my life took an unexpected turn when I was diagnosed with Primary Mediastinal Large B-Cell Lymphoma. With tremendous support from family and friends, my amazing doctor and the invaluable resources provided by organizations like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), I am where I am today.


This year I am 10 years cancer-free. Today, more than ever I am deeply committed to making a positive impact on the lives of individuals affected by cancer, and regrettably, there are far too many of us who share this experience.


As a cancer survivor and a mom of three, I cannot help to think about my history and the possible effect it can have on my family.  I am taking the opportunity I have been given to contribute to a cause that goes beyond my personal journey – a cause that aims to reshape the landscape for all cancers, not just blood cancer.

I want to channel my gratitude for the progress made in cancer research into meaningful action and that is why I have chosen to participate in the LLS “Visionaries of the Year” fundraising campaign.  By supporting this campaign, we can contribute to a future where fewer families have to endure the challenges posed by cancer.

LLS has committed and continues to commit to revolutionary approaches that extend far beyond blood cancer. Clinical trials are testing groundbreaking methods for various cancers and diseases, such as bone cancer, brain cancer, breast cancer, diabetes, kidney cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, lupus nephritis, melanoma, multiple sclerosis, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, stomach cancer, and skin cancer.

My Story:

For about a year I was experiencing chest pains that moved to my upper back, but doctors and everyone around me kept convincing me that it was nothing and it was in my head.  I blamed working out, sitting at a desk all day, my pillows, my mattress, you name it.  I couldn’t imagine at the age of 26, never had a broken a bone, always in great health, that anything could be wrong.  The pains and discomfort began to worsen, and I was experiencing more symptoms of what I would later find out were signs of cancer.  My blood work continues to be completely normal, and I was told that there was nothing wrong with me.  I tried to change my everyday routine to see if I would see a difference.  I started getting massages daily to ease the pain, changed my workout routines, had my house inspected for mold, I really thought it could be anything but never cancer.

On Friday, October 11, 2013, after a morning workout, I felt my left arm and chest getting puffy, looked in the mirror and my arm was enlarged and dark and my chest very vascular – I knew something was not right.  I went to work and tried to remain calm but could not hold back the tears, I hesitantly called my mother. 

We went to the doctor the same day and once again the doctor told me that nothing seemed to be wrong, that it’s muscular due to exercising.  I kept insisting this was not normal, but I was sent home and was told to give it the weekend.  I knew something was very wrong when I tried to wash my hair and I could hardly lift my arm or when was winded from walking up one flight of stairs.

After the weekend of doing tons of my own research, I was able to get a prescription for an ultrasound from the doctor I saw Friday, to see a vascular doctor who was able to see me the same day. At that time, they discovered two blood clots, one in my arm and one in my neck, and misdiagnosed me with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.  I was scheduled to go in for surgery that Wednesday.  

Thanks to my incredible family and close friend, I was told to get a second opinion and was able to see a vascular doctor who treated me as his own daughter (without him, I am not even sure where I would be today).  He had me on blood thinners, while I did multiple scans, including a CT of my head and MRI of my heart, which is what discovered the grapefruit sized mass in my chest.  Then I met with the thoracic surgeon who did the biopsy and recommended I see an oncologist, who finally confirmed the diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Nobody expects anything to happen to them, and most of us think we are invincible (I always did), but the truth of the matter is we are not and the only thing we can do is stay positive, strong and fight!  

Visionaries look to the future–and see infinite possibility.

They challenge the status quo–and make the impossible possible.

They boldly imagine a better world–and lead the charge to create it.

I am a visionary; I have a vision for a world without cancer, but I need your help! The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society was built on this same vision–of a better world–one without blood cancers.

Please help me be New York City’s Visionary of the Year by contributing to my campaign, and by sharing the link to my page with your network.

All donations are greatly appreciated and tax-deductible.

For more information on LLS, please visit www.LLS.org

Thank you very much for your support!!!!

100% Of all shirt sales profits will be going to L.L.S.

100% Of all shirt sales profits will be going to L.L.S.

    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop