By Sameria Zavala
Womack Army Medical Center Public Affairs Specialist
WEST POINT, N.Y. (June 15, 2016)—West Point Graduate, 1st Lt. Michael Matthews of the Warrior Transition Battalion, Fort Stewart, Georgia, is a cancer survivor. He feels blessed to be alive and to compete at the 2016 Department of Defense Warrior Games at West Point, New York, June 15-21.
Matthews was diagnosed with stage 3 testicular cancer, January 2015 and finished 80 hours of chemotherapy in four months.
According to cancer.gov, testicular cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of one or both testicles and can cause infertility.
“Chemo affects everybody differently,” explained Matthews. “I would get fatigued and I lost about 40 pounds in the process. I lost my hair. After chemotherapy, they did another scan and found out the cancer was not gone. It spread to my abdomen, so I had to go to Indiana University Hospital to get it surgically removed.”
Through his experience, Matthews gained a stronger faith in God and learned valuable life lessons through the process.
“Live every day to the fullest,” said Matthews. “It’s kind of cliché, but that’s one of the things I learned during my cancer process. My faith in Christ grew a lot stronger. It was a blessing for me to actually get cancer because through that it has given me a whole new perspective, and I’ve grown closer to God through it.”
Matthews is representing Fort Stewart, Georgia’s Warrior Transition Battalion and will be participating in archery, cycling and shooting. He joined the rifle team while he was a student here at West Point 2010-2014, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Arabic.
“West Point taught me perseverance,” said Matthews. “Doing 21-22 credit hours with the rifle team, going to (rifle) competitions on the weekends and still having to maintain my grades taught me balance (in military academics and physical fitness). At the Warrior Games, you have to be at multiple events, so how are you going to decide to practice each event. How are you going to organize your priorities? I’m kind of weak in this area, so let’s put a little more time there.”
Matthews competed in the Army trials at Fort Bliss, Texas, in March this year and was able to return to that ”team feeling” he once felt as a student at West Point.
“The experience here has been great,” Matthews said. “I know mostly everyone from the trials at Fort Bliss. It’s great to see all the athletes again. I love being around this type of mentality. It’s really hard to find it’ that mentality of not quitting.”
“You have athletes here that nobody would blame for quitting on themselves,” added Matthews. “They not only don’t quit, but they push past that. They are excelling and going on to the Invictus Games and the (U.S.) Paralympics. That’s incredible, so I like being around that mentality. I like the coaches. They don’t go easy on you even though you’ve got an injury
He is grateful of his life experiences and tries to encourage those around him at the games and in life.
“Instead of looking at failure as a bad thing,” look at it as an opportunity to see how you can succeed tomorrow and the next day,” said Matthews.
|Date Posted:||06.18.2016 14:18|
|Location:||WEST POINT, NY, US|
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