Matthew Berk

Everyone has a story; some are compelling, some are commonplace, all of them shape our world and our interactions with others. My story was never overly remarkable - work long hours to finance a comfortable life, happily married for a long time, living in a nice house in a beautiful location, gratefully nurture some great friendships. Then, at 59 years old, never having been sick a day in my life since having chicken pox when I was a kid, the doctor says 'the biopsy for that lump shows it is malignant'. And things start spinning. That diagnosis of non-Hodgkins lymphoma started a 15 month odyssey through Curtis Anderson Cancer Center in Savannah, Dana Farber Center in Boston and the Hollings Center in Charleston, radiation and chemotherapy. I became a pretty quick study on the basics of lymphoma and our health care system. One critical discovery was that non-Hodgkins lymphoma is not a single disease (there are dozens of related forms of the disease) and is not considered to be curable; remission is the post diagnosis goal and the rates and duration of remission vary widely from patient to patient. As I write this I am fortunate to say that with the help of my doctors and staff, my devoted wife, and some very special friends I have managed to make it through the physical and emotional stresses of treatment and the disease is in remission. In the midst of all this I made a deal with my friend Eric Levitt - himself a survivor of Hodgkin's lymphoma - that if I got to remission we would team up for the Hundred Hole Hike in May. My chosen charity is The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society which promotes the research necessary to find a cure, not just a remission, for these diseases. I am looking forward to the challenge of the Hike and reporting to all that I reached my 100 hole goal!

I'm supporting

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The mission of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.