He was getting radiation and chemo and all I knew about was they were treating his leg. One day I noticed some red pen marks on his back. I asked Matt what that was and he said "they found something there too." Though I knew little to nothing about cancer, I knew a game changer when I saw one and then feared for the worst.
I hung with Matt the whole time…in and out of the hospital. His father obviously knew time was precious and bought Matt a new 74 Black Dodge Challenger…all built with Cragar mags, traction bars, headers and a blower under the hood. “Mr. Norm” (look him up) lived across the street from me and was good friends with the Lynn Family. He hooked Matt’s father up with a car people would give their right arm for today. Mostly it was me driving Matt around in the Challenger. They made him a brace for his bad leg so he could push in the heavy clutch and he was able to drive it on occasion. We even went up the to drag strip in Union Grove Wisconsin and raced it one Sunday.
It was spring 1974 I went over for my daily visit to Matt's house and the parents said Matt has some news for me...I went up to Matt’s room. He told me his doctor sat him down and told him he wasn’t going to make it. I asked Matt his thoughts…all he could say is "I’m pissed!" He was mature beyond his years, I hear cancer has this affect on people. I remember crying all the way home to tell my mother.
Things absolutely sucked but we made the best of the time Matt had left on this earth. However, as I watched Matt’s condition continue to decline, I felt so helpless. Kept thinking as long as he was alive, there was hope. He was in terrible pain, had tumors all over his body, lost all his hair, was confined to a wheelchair and finally had a tumor growing in his throat that was going to suffocate him. Weeks before he died, Matt received a letter from the State of Illinois…his probation for his DUI was over. I got an early life lesson on perspective that I carry this to this day. I remember Matt’s mother telling me how meaningless a "big deal" becomes once cancer enters the picture. She would do anything to have a 16 year old with a DUI as her biggest problem.