Boy battling cancer inspires Albuquerque police officers
Posted at: 09/24/2012 7:19 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, Eyewitness News 4
An Albuquerque boy's fight against a rare form of cancer is inspiring city police officers and civilians to get involved with the lives of kids with cancer.
He's 4 years old and everybody calls him Matthew Man - as in super hero. Matthew Man is battling C Man - that's Cancer Man - a super villain if there ever was one. And if this was a comic book, the hero would win.
You would never know Matthew Pedrotty is battling high-risk neuroblastoma when you see him playing hard with his cousins and his little brother. But it's stage 4 cancer and the doctors have run out of treatments, and their goal now is just to keep him stable.
Matthew is a "study" patient at Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City, but he's back at home in Albuquerque's Ventana Ranch for a few days of rest and recreation.
When Matthew was still at Carrie Tingley Hospital in Albuquerque, his uncle, Dave Ritchie, came to see him, in uniform before his shift as an Albuquerque police officer. Matthew asked him to please visit the other kids in his ward. Dave did, and so did his fellow officers. Operation Matthew got into full swing, a new mission for APD, a mission for Matthew that's bigger than Matthew.
"The outpouring by citizens, outpouring by the officers individually and then the department as a whole has been absolutely heroic," Ritchie said. "These officers aren't required to do this, it's on their own time, they're not as directly related. Yes, I do consider them part of my family, I just didn't think they would spring into action like this."
When hospital schedules allow, the cops troop is loaded with toys, books, blankets, and more toys. Meanwhile, Matthew's mother stays focused on the medical mission, raising awareness about this form of cancer and support for its victims and their families.
"Because of so little awareness, because there's so few people that know about this, there's not a lot of research going on and there's not a lot of funding to research this childhood cancer," said Elissa Pedrotty. " I think it only affects 1,200 kids a year, maybe 1,300 kids a year."
Want to get involved with Operation Matthew as it broadens into a bigger mission the police are calling Operation Hope? Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or give them a call at (505) 766-2131.