Service Above Self

Matt Ellefson, lung cancer survivor undergoing chemo

Matt Ellefson – Survivor

Sometime during the fall of 2009, I developed a cough. My cough was no different than any other seasonal allergy or cold I’ve had before. However, it didn’t seem to get any better. One morning in late December, I woke up and began coughing up blood. Several hours later, I found myself lying in a hospital bed with a diagnosis of advanced lung cancer.

Really? Lung cancer? I just had a great workout at the gym. None of it made sense. My doctors informed me that this was advanced and had spread. Without treatments I had eight months to live. With treatments, I was facing a five year survival rate of 5%.

Disbelief turned into anger. All I could think was “bring it on”. I don’t lose fights and I was not going to lose this one. With the help of my wife and family, we went online and began searching. We Googled everything we could about lung cancer. We had the world’s best search engines. We had access to hundreds of thousands of websites, research portals, and support networks, yet we still felt powerless. How much of the information is current? How much is reliable? The deeper we dug, the more confused we got.

We were losing the fight. It was at that point that I turned to God. I prayed “God, you haven’t heard from me in a while, but I really need you now. Please forgive me for my sins and provide me with the wisdom to find how to heal my body.” You really learn the meaning of faith when faith is all you have. God answered my prayer and I promised myself that I was going to do my best to make sure that nobody else ever has to go through what I went through to find the right help.

My mind quickly shifted from focusing on myself to helping others. I became an active cancer advocate and developed a passion for mentoring and helping others face their disease head on under their own terms. Because I can’t help enough people on my own, the idea behind SURVIVEiT™ was born.

My dream of a world free from the fear of cancer needs to happen and it needs to happen now. I’m sick of watching my friends die. They don’t die because they aren’t fighting hard enough. Many are dying because they’re unaware of newer discoveries and treatment options. The current “Standard of Care” which has been routinely offered to people facing advanced cancer is not cutting it. We must demand better.

Often the best chance of survival, especially for those facing advanced cancer, is to access the very best in diagnostics that point to targeted treatment therapies. With advanced cancer, a person often only has one shot to get it right. SURVIVEiT™ aspires to educate people with the tools to get it right the first time.

So, together with some incredible survivor brothers and sisters, we’re building tools to reach those that nobody else is reaching. With this site and our future SURVIVEiT.org site, we hope to connect with other compassionate survivors who have demonstrated their ability to face this disease head on and now have a passion for directing that very same energy toward saving the lives of others. Together, we can practice Service Above Self. Together, we can help others find the very best in cancer care. Together, we can save lives and create a world free from the fear of cancer.

“This, however, is not the way it is among you. If one of you wants to be great, you must be the servant of the rest; and if one of you wants to be first, you must be the slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served; He came to serve and to give his life to redeem many people.” Mark 10:43-45

If you’ve faced this disease and have been blessed to live another day, please join us in the development of SURVIVEiT™. SURVIVEiT™ is a community of survivors dedicated to helping those who desperately need our help.

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