Running in Memory of Matt
Tuesday, 06.17.2008 / 1:13 PM CT / Feature
Former Dallas Stars Ticket Operations Director Matt McKee's memory continues to live on with staff, players and friends here with the hockey club. Matt passed away on January 16 and he is greatly missed.
Trent Morton – who was a good friend of Matt’s – was motivated to reach a goal of running a full marathon in Matt’s memory. He reached his goal and in the process raised over $4,000 for Leukemia and Lymphoma research!
This is the story of Trent’s accomplishment. All of us here at the Dallas Stars are proud of Trent’s impressive efforts to honor our friend Matt. LiveStrong!
By Trent Morton, Dallas Stars Marketing Coordinator
I did it! I completed my training and finished my first ever full marathon. I have never really considered myself ‘a runner’ before last year, but I guess I have officially crossed the threshold. I began running simply to get back in shape, and even completed 2 half marathons in December and January. But, the motivation to run a full marathon was actually created from a very sad event in my and my co-workers lives. In January, shortly after completing my 2nd half marathon, a friend, colleague, and a great man passed away.
Matt McKee was the true example of the Golden Rule. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who had an unpleasant word to say about him. He was a Christian, a loving father and husband, a sports fanatic, a fellow Aggie, and a great friend to anyone who allowed him to be. I only had the pleasure of working with Matt for a little over a year, but in that time it was quite obvious to me how loved and respected he was. When frustrations were high around the office, you could count on Matt to have a smile on his face, and a kind word to say. He was the kind of man that everyone strives to be, yet so few can match.
When I saw the affect that Matt’s death had on so many people; including Dallas Stars players, it made me start wondering what I could do to honor his life, and strive to be the kind of person he was. When Matt was a teenager, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, a form of leukemia. The treatments and life expectancy for Hodgkin’s patients in the early 90’s weren’t as good as they are now, and although Matt beat the odds, living for over 15 years after diagnosis, it was what eventually led to his passing.
After this, my sister and running partner, April, told me about Team in Training (TNT). TNT is an organization that benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). TNT takes runners of all ages and experience levels and gives them the tools needed to both complete an endurance event (marathon, half marathon, triathlon), and fundraise for the LLS. I chose to participate in the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon in San Diego, and committed to raise $3800 for Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma patients across America. With support from my family and friends and motivation from my TNT coaches and mentor, I raised over $4100, completed my run, and gained many friendships along the way. It was a great experience crossing the finish line knowing that I did a small part to help. The North Texas TEAM raised over $1.2 Million during the summer season alone, and a total of $12.5 Million was raised at the Rock ‘n Roll marathon for the LLS.
Though Matt’s life ended far too soon for us, he truly lived every moment he had on this earth. With the help of the LLS, more and more Leukemia patients will have the opportunity to live as Matt did, with a passion for life, a love for his wife and daughter, and a true happiness.
Below are some stats on the accomplishments by the LLS (www.lls.org), since Team in Training (www.teamintraining.org) was founded in 1987:
1987: $6.4 million in research grants awarded, cumulative total: $50 million.
2007: $64.7 million in research grants awarded in fiscal year 2007, cumulative total: $550 million.
Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia:
1987: Five-year survival was less than 55%.
2007: With the use of the targeted drug Gleevec®, five-year survival is 95%, with high quality of life. Trent: “I LOVE this one. This is an oral therapy drug that makes it possible for patients to live their lives!! WE HELPED FUND THIS DISCOVERY!!”
1987: Five-year survival was 52%.
2007: Targeted drugs such as Rituxan® have increased five-year survival to 63%, with dramatic improvements in patients' quality of life.
1987: Five-year survival was 12%.
2007: Five-year survival has nearly tripled with the use of targeted drugs such as Revlamid® and Velcade®, with major increases in patients' quality of life.
1987: Groups available in 14 chapters, with 1,500 patients and family members served.
2007: Groups available in 68 chapters, with 9,500 patients and family members served.
Information Resource Center (IRC):
1987: Free, national call center for patients/caregivers not available.
2007: The IRC responded to 74,325 inquiries.
1987: Financial assistance was provided to 5,500 patients.
2007: Financial assistance was provided to 16,958 patients.
1987: The Society had no voice in Washington, DC.
2007: More than 20,000 Society advocates are working to increase federal research programs.
1987: Bruce Cleland ran the New York City Marathon with a small group of friends, raising $320,000.
2007: Team In Training has trained more than 340,000 participants who have raised more than $800 million.
The overall from 1960 to 2003, survival rate changes:
Hodgkin Lymphoma 40%-86%
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 31%-64%