If you google the word Resiliency it returns 6,420,000 results. Without going through each result I am approximately 99.9999999999% sure that they are definitely missing a return that could possibly encompass all that you need to say about the word resiliency in one article. A pretty big presumption to make but I do believe there are plenty of authentic displays of resiliencies in this person’s story to back up my claim whole heartedly. You see, this young man was faced with the ultimate test of the word where as If he didn’t put up a fight he would suffer the ultimate consequence which would be the loss of life. Oh but on the contrary! He wasn’t ready to desert his life or his family and in turn stared the obstacle at hand in the face and with the help of his sister refused to budge on his stance of I would rather live the life I like to live than live the way excuses would allow me to. Low and behold! STROUD FAMILY VICTORY versus opponent: RARE FORM OF LEUKEMIA DEFEAT. See it takes some kind of individual to hear all the reason why you cannot do something and in rebuttal show all the reasons why I can. There is a train of thought as to why when you go to try out for high school athletics there is a separation of freshman and under classmen. That is to say that we all must develop at different paces and freshman are not supposed to be able to compete with sophomores, juniors and seniors. So how do you explain Matt Stroud being the only freshman to play baseball on the varsity team at Cheektowaga High School? Oh I know! The same reason why he is being featured in this blog posting……. He is OBVIOUSLY YOUNG AND BRILLIANT aka OYAB. Stricken with an extremely rare form of leukemia called chronic myelogenous leukemia which is said to only affect 1 or 2 in every 100,000 Americans Matt has endured some very significant challenges as a youth that many of us will never understand. Not only was he a teenager experiencing chemotherapy but in order for survival he also needed to find a bone marrow donor match that would allow for a rejuvenation of the necessary cells within Matts body. For those not privy to the way that bone marrow transplants work, it is a very sophisticated process when trying to locate a match. Meaning, first there is a nationwide search for a match and when that is unsuccessful the search goes global. However, the best possible match is a sibling to sibling match of twins and in the case that there isn’t any twin in the scenario sibling to sibling is the next best case scenario. I introduce a six year old named Jenna Stroud who had an understanding of the situation and wanted nothing more than to be the one who helped her brother. Jenna was tested and was found to be a perfect match and on April 20th, 2011 the very brave Jenna endured the painful surgery to have her bone marrow extracted and later on that day transplanted to her brother along with some high doses of chemotherapy. Always one to make a way rather than excuses while going through the rigors of recovery in the hospital Matt continued to work on his project towards confirmation at church and he was able to donate $1000 to one of his favorite charities to help troubled youth. All at a time when he could have just decided to be idle and throw himself one big pity party. Lack of an immune system has forced Matt to remain in the hospital while battling graft vs host disease as going back to school before rebuilding his immune system could be detrimental to his health. Again making ways and not excuses Matt is tutored full time in all his subjects and has maintained his honors status. What about Jenna? She also was back at it doing all she can to keep the fight up with her brother. She even participated in a bike marathon where she was able to raise $2,200 for Team Matthew by riding her bike 20 miles in her brother’s honor. Though, we are highlighting Matt for his level of resiliency he could not have done so without the support of his family and the entire Cheektowaga community. I have never visited this community but feel very comfortable in stating whatever community I live in I want it to conduct itself in the same fashion. If you read the links that are attached to this blog about Matt Stroud’s story and don’t feel the same way then you may want to reevaluate the society you would like to raise your children in. As the old saying goes: It takes a village to raise a child. I believe that community involvement and support for all things positive for our youth is a must. We at OYAB salute you Cheektowaga community and we at OYAB double salute you Mr Matt Stroud.
At the time of this blog entry we have a great update to bring to our readers—currently playing shortstop on the Cheektowaga Central Warriors baseball team Matt achieved a 99.53% average last semester, while carrying Honors classes in school. He also continues to play showcase baseball where he is able to display his talent for potential scouts of minor leagues and colleges alike. He also has his eye set on the ivy league for college as he begins to apply to schools such as Columbia University. However, the struggle of this fight is still not over as Matt’s resiliency has continued to challenge him. As of last week his latest test have showed that his leukemia has returned. By now though, you know the drill! Matt still does not feel defeated and will continue to fight this ailment with the same tenacity that he has always lived by. Matt you have the ultimate support in your conrner with your awesome family and Cheektowaga! Heart of a champion is always a GREAT WAY TO BE OYAB.