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LAFD Fire Captain and Cancer Survivor is Inspiring Others Not to Give Up Hope

An LA city fire captain will be sitting on the “City of Hope” float at the Rose Parade this weekend.

He hopes his story of survival can be a beacon for others.

Matthew Gatewood recalls the moment he was diagnosed. Now 16 years later, Gatewood still feels the fear of that horrible day.

The doctor’s diagnosis was “multiple myeloma,” which is cancer of his blood’s plasma.

The prognosis he was given was as many as five years and as few as two.

“It felt like it was over,” Gatewood said. “Like every step I took was one step closer to the end.”

The strapping LA Fire captain and lifelong fitness and health fanatic is only 39-year-old. At the time, all he could think about was his young children.

A recommendation at work led him to hematology expert Dr. Amrita Krishnan.

“I’m very hopeful for him,” Krishnan said.

She’s one of the doctors at City of Hope in Pasadena which is a world-renowned for cancer treatment and research.

“The disease is controlled and that’s sort of where he is,” Krishnan. “He’s been stable like that for quite a while.”

To Gatewood she was a God-send.

On New Year’s Day, they’ll both be riding on the City of Hope Rose Parade float, along with eight other survivors.

Gatewood says this is so much more than just a pretty float in a parade. To him it’s about a message that he wants to send the world.

“Reaching out to every person that gets diagnosed or mis-diagnosed with something and doesn’t know City of Hope is there,” Gatewood said.

Hope isn’t just in the name, he says.

It’s what helped him endure the two stem cell transplants and cutting edge drug therapies that gave him a second chance to live and see his daughter go to college.

“She became an adult,” Gatewood said. “I didn’t think I was going to see that.”

As a fire captain he’s saved lives on a fire truck his entire career.

This weekend he’s riding a different kind of truck, saving lives in a completely different way.


Source: NBC Los Angeles

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