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Matthew Boroditsky

Visiting Project Somos in a southern Guatemalan community

A Journey From Sickness to Health: Letter from Matthew Boroditsky: A Giving Wish

by Rhonda Spivak, Sept 20, 2016

[Editor's note: 
In 2013 when he was in grade 12 at St Georges School , Matthew Boroditsky  was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, a cancer affecting his body's immune system. Thankfully today, because of medical treatment, Matthew is feeling strong, and healthy, and is currently studying at McMaster University in Health Sciences and is applying to medical school. During his treatment, Matthew was granted a wish through Children's wish, and he became the first Children's Wish participant to donate his wish in the form of a "giving wish  to Project Samos such that others in need will also have access to medical treatment.
In the letter below, you can read about Matthew's journey fighting cancer and why he chose to pass on his Wish to  Project Samos.
Matthew currently serves on the Canadian Childhood Cancer national board and acts as a teen mentor to newly diagnosed children and their families.  He has successfully chaired a relay for life program and raised over 27K that day for cancer.  He also serves on the EFRT team at McMaster ( emergency first response team) providing 24/7 emergency services on campus.  Matthew is a  recipient of the  The Terry Fox Humanitarian Award Program, which aims to honour the spirit of Terry Fox, one of Canada’s greatest heroes, by encouraging Canadian youth who strive to emulate Terry Fox’s courage and determination by providing their communities and those in need with humanitarian service. There is a national selection process culminating in an interview and final selection to become a Terry Fox Scholar.
Matthew was also the first ever Jewish head boy at St George's school. Matthew's parents are Alan and  Borodisky, and Alan is the son of Dr Richard and Dianne Boroditsky ]
One can never truly predict what life has in store for them. One day can be the happiest day of your life and in a split second you are confronted with fighting the most significant battle you may ever face. This is the reality we live in and is something that I was quickly acquainted with entering my final year of high school at St. George’s.
I had just returned to school after playing in a hockey tournament over the summer months, when things quickly changed for me. On October 13, 2013 I was informed that I had Hodgkins Lymphoma, a cancer affecting the body’s immune system. All of a sudden, my life was put on hold as the only focus was fighting this disease over the next eight months of my life. During this time I never truly understood the magnitude of influence this experience would have on my life. The importance of health and how much we take that for granted on a daily basis was something that truly struck me during these eight months.
Halfway through my treatment, I was approached with the opportunity to be granted a wish through Children’s Wish. This was a unique and intriguing opportunity, one that I did not take lightly. It was quite overwhelming when I first fully realized the vast possibilities associated with this wish. After several days of thought, I truly felt that I wanted this wish to be one that I could look back upon many years later. I wanted to make a wish that could stand as a constant reminder to not only myself, but to the greater community, about the importance of gratitude, hopefully sharing a small bit of what I learned throughout my experience. Thus, I came to the conclusion that I would like my wish to be a “giving wish”.
In March of 2013, several classmates and I had the opportunity to visit Project Somos in a southern Guatemalan community as part of a service-learning experience. Project Somos is an eco-sustainable alternative community for at-risk mothers and children in Guatemala. It exists, among many things, as a result of an ongoing recognition of rising poverty and poor access to education and medical care. The Project was an eye opening experience for me and left a major impression in my life. It was the first time I had experienced a world with true poverty and seen first hand the roadblocks to health and well-being, something very rarely seen within our culture.
The people in rural areas such as Chivarabal – where Project Somos is located – often don’t have the money to cover transportation to a medical clinic. If they do manage to go to a free clinic, they might not be able to afford the medication prescribed (even generic drugs are prohibitively expensive). There aren’t many systems in place for long term health conditions, and preventative care is completely lacking.
Realizing the limitations and the precarious feeling people find themselves in, the tragic loss of what we at home would consider basic simple care sparked an idea to construct a medical clinic on site. At the time, I was not fully aware of how this could be done, but when Children’s Wish came along, I knew exactly what to wish for. I wanted my wish to make a difference in this world and continue to help the people of Guatemala for many years to come, trying to parallel the philosophy of Project Somos in its recognition of the importance of sustainability. Nearing the end of my treatment, in partnership with Children’s wish, we were able to direct the initial funds for the medical clinic for Project Somos.
As you can imagine, the planning of a medical clinic and neighbourhood house on the Project Somos site has been challenging. We continue to fundraise to help raise the necessary money to make this wish a reality. In keeping with our momentum, we are planning an evening of celebration on October 13, 2016 at St. George’s School. We celebrate the continued progress and success of the project and we hope to make a difference in the lives of others that are less fortunate.
Life has a funny way of evolving. I never would have even thought I would be involved in a project like this so far from home. I feel we have an obligation as a global community to help each other and I know that many of you reading this feel the same way. Please help us by donating directly to the medical clinic project or by coming to our event to help make my wish come true.
To donate please click here A tax receipt will be issued by the Compassionate Fruit Society (the non-profit for Project Samos
To buy tickets for our major Fundraising event on OCTOBER 13, 2016 @ St. Georges School, click here  or to learn more go to:    r 

or to learn more go to 
Matthew Boroditsky
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.