My name is Matt. I grew up the son of two immigrant parents from Russia in Brooklyn, NY. For college, I moved up to Boston where I studied math and music at Northeastern U. In school I played on the water polo team, was an RA, and was a member of the NU Wind Ensemble, then served as its president of the for 2 full years, including during COVID times (not great for a wind ensemble, but we made it work!). I’ve dedicated the first 23 years of my life to making music with others (I play the saxophone in multiple community bands around Boston and conduct bands and orchestras in the area!), and I’ve had some of my original arrangements and compositions premiered in multiple historic performance spaces around Boston! After I graduated Northeastern in 2021, I started working full time at Wayfair on their pricing team, while spending my time outside work hiking, staying active, playing my saxophone and conducting, going to concerts, playing board games with friends, cooking great food, lap swimming at my local YMCA to stay fit, and bird watching in the Boston parks.

Around late August 2022, I started experiencing chronic migraines that interfered with my work and life. We went in for an MRI and it was discovered that I had a tennis ball sized brain tumor that got into my ventricles and was causing problems. On 9/26 I went in for a 10 hour brain surgery, where they removed most but not all of the tumor. After the surgery, I was completely limp on my left side, but a couple of days later my fingers and leg muscles started waking up! After a couple weeks in the hospital, I was sent to a rehab facility where we worked on building strength and fine motor control back into my arm and leg, and I also had to relearn how to walk! I made fast progress in rehab, and they even discharged me 4 days earlier than expected! I am now home walking with a cane and walker.

We met with oncologists after rehab, and the prognosis of the tumor was an aggressive Grade IV Glioblastoma (Brain Cancer), which has also spread to my spine and spinal fluid – not very good. My next step in treatment is to start chemo and radiation therapy in the next couple of weeks. I would love to use this grant money to start a home gym for myself to continue to build strength on my left side and stay active while my mobility is limited.

Quote: “Life is Amazing!”