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Matts’ Mission fighting cancer, one bracelet at a time

Matt Gorczyka shows off the bracelets he and his friend are selling to raise money for Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

blog by The Canisius Griffin  • 

As the field of cancer research continues to grow, it becomes increasingly clear that cancer is an affliction that few people can escape - a person should count him or herself among the lucky few if he or she does not personally know someone who has been affected by the disease.

With the unfortunate universality of cancer in mind, one student at Canisius College has decided to take action.  Matt Gorczyca, a junior at Canisius, has started a campaign in response to the plight of his friend, Matt Musial. 

In December 2010, Musial’s mother was diagnosed with colon cancer.  Seven months later, on July 13, 2011, Mrs. Musial lost her battle with the deadly disease. 

A couple of weeks before her passing, when it became clear that, despite her strong spirit, Musial’s mother was not going to survive much longer, Gorczyca dedicated himself to helping his friend’s family in whatever way possible.  He was inspired to start a campaign, Matts’ Mission, in support of the Musial family and cancer research in general.

“I saw the toll that cancer takes on an entire family during her treatment,” explained Gorczyca.  “I’m hoping that our campaign makes people realize how quickly cancer is rising as a killer that affects everyone.”

In September, the young men began selling white wrist bands embossed with the words “Matts’ Mission.” These bracelets, available for $3 will make up the majority of the pair’s fundraising efforts. 

On top of the bracelets, the pair plans to expand their awareness campaign by returning to their alma mater, St. Francis High School, where current Red Raider students will be given the chance to donate to the cause. 

“We are not looking for massive donations from everyone,” said Gorczyca.  “We want to make this a personable fundraiser to which people can relate on an intimate level.”

The campaign will culminate this summer when both Gorczyca and Musial take part in the Ride For Roswell on June 23, 2012.  Usually, Ride for Roswell teams are composed of multiple members, with each member completing a portion of the route.  The two Matts plan to complete 44 miles of the 100-mile long biking marathon. 

Before the June ride, the duo hopes to raise $5,000 for Buffalo’s renowned cancer institute.  Gorczyca set such an ambitious fundraising goal because he recognizes the importance of institutions such as Roswell Park, where Mrs. Musial received treatment for her colon cancer.

“I wanted to give back to Roswell for all that [the institution] does.  They have accomplished so much for cancer victims, both locally and nationally,” said the junior from Lackawanna. 

Matts’ Mission has been well-received by the Canisius community.  Gorczyca explained that many students and faculty members offer with their donation a personal story about how cancer has affected them.

“People approach me with a personal anecdote about a cancer victim.  They give me $5, $10, or $20 and tell me to keep it all,” said Gorczyca of the response in the Golden Griffin community.  “People have been overly generous.”

With the relative success of the campaign so far, Gorczyca did not seem too worried about hitting the $5,000 mark.  He did, however, seem worried for a different reason.

“I haven’t started training yet,” he said exasperatedly.  “44 miles is a long ride.”

To find out how you can support this worthy cause, visit the Matts’ Mission Facebook page or follow their progress on Twitter @Matts_Mission.  You can also check out Courtney Helinski’s video detailing Matt’s fight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZA4WjryTieU&feature=youtu.be

The Griffin
Dan Ludwig

TAGGED: canisius college, matts_mission, opinion, roswell park cancer institute, the griffin, twitter

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