We began Mathaus’ Gifts as a way to give back to others the care and support we received during our son’s journey with cancer. This is our story:
Mathaus was born in May of 2009 with cancer called Congenital Ewing’s Sarcoma. Our lives would never be the same.
Mathaus began receiving chemotherapy treatment.
On his first birthday in May of 2010, after several surgeries and nine months of chemotherapy, his scans showed he was cancer-free. However, at his next check-up, it was discovered that the cancer had returned in his central nervous system. Mathaus received additional surgery and chemotherapy treatments. He underwent an autologus stem cell transplant in January of 2011 at Texas Childrens Hospital. At his follow-up scans we were devastated to learn that a large tumor was growing in his brain.
He had one more round of chemo, but emergency surgery was required in May of 2011 to remove the tumor. He was in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Dell Children’s Hospital for 42 days. The recovery from this was his most difficult and we almost lost him.
After his recovery, he received targeted proton beam radiation from MD Anderson in Houston in July of 2011. We had full faith that the proton radiation treatment would be successful. Again we were anguished to learn there was more growth. Traditional radiation treatment had not been an option for Mathaus due to his age, but we had no treatment options left. He received the maximum radiation. We had the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial at Memorial Sloan- Kettering in New York. We traveled there with gratitude and great hope. Memorial-Sloan scanned him when we arrived and we received the news that there were multiple large tumors. We went home and began palliative care. We could have given more chemotherapy to possibly extend his life but we felt we had asked so much of Mathaus with the promise of a cure and he had lovingly trusted us every step of the way, we couldn’t ask him to bear anymore treatments so our pain could be delayed.
We made the most of our time together and cherished every moment. Mathaus died March 7, 2012 surrounded by those that loved him most in this world.
We miss him every moment of everyday.
We are grateful for his life and our time with him.
He will always be our son and we will love him always.
Jessica Owens, Mathaus’ mother