‘Lilly’ named 5th Cancer Freeze recipient

Published 2:04 am Thursday, December 8, 2016

Cancer Freeze has named an Opp girl its fifth recipient for the 2017 event.

Lilly Matt, who has battled medical challenges since birth, is currently fighting brain cancer.

1208-lilly“Starting from the day Lilly was born, she has faced medical challenges dealing from her right kidney, she was diagnosed with hydronephrosis,” said Brandy Matt, Lilly’s mother. “She underwent 12 surgeries throughout her life. February of this year, she was in the hospital for a UTI, which we were used to, they performed a minor test called a mag 3 renal scan to test the function of her kidney. She did OK with the test and shortly after being discharged the same day, she began complaining of a headache and threw up a little bit on the ride back home to Opp.”

Brandy said they thought it was side effects from the anesthesia, so they let her go home and sleep.

“At 1 a.m., the next morning, she began throwing up uncontrollably, and by 6 a.m. she was fully lethargic,” Brandy said.

Brandy said they rushed her to Andalusia Health, and they immediately transferred Lilly to Sacred Heart in Pensacola.

“She was still not waking up, the doctors said it was from the anesthesia, but decided to do a cat scan once she was upstairs,” she said. “They moved her into the PICU, and that’s when we heard the worst news any parent could here. They informed us that our daughter had a brain bleed.”

Brandy said doctors and medical personnel would monitor her throughout the night, while they waited.

“The next morning they performed an MRI, where they determined the bleeding had stopped, but our daughter had a tumor dead center of her brain,” Brandy said. “We met with many doctors and it was decided that on March 2, she would undergo brain surgery to attempt to remove the tumor and get a biopsy to determine what the mass was.”

Brandy said the surgery left Lilly blind in her left eye, gave her short-term memory problems, and caused difficulty when walking. They also were not able to remove all of the tumor. They could only get enough for a biopsy, she said.

“On March 8, the doctors came in and informed us that our daughter has been diagnosed with stage 2 brain cancer,” Brandy said. “She will have to have chemo for a year, to attempt and kill the cells of the tumor. So, we drive every week from Opp to Pensacola for chemo. We make numerous trips to Pensacola due to her counts, headaches, fever and infections from her kidney.”

Brandy said Lilly has already needed a blood transfusion and there is still a very long road to go.

“Due to her immune-compromised state, she is unable to attend school with her friends, so she attends an hour every Monday and Tuesday, after the rest of the kids have left,” Brandy said.

Still, Brandy said that Lilly doesn’t let her disease get her down.

“When you meet Lilly, you don’t see someone who is sad and depressed, you will see a bright, beautiful little girl, who wishes to make everyone smile and know that she loves them,” Brandy said.