November 10, 1998
The 1998 Northwestern football season has brought with it many hard lessons in patience, perseverance and courage in defeat. Yet the most enduring memory from this year will be that of Matt Hartl walking onto Ryan Field hand-in-hand with his co-captains. Matt is battling Hodgkin's disease and his quiet dignity and fighting spirit have been an inspiration to everyone on and off the field.
As you undoubtedly know, Matt already waged this battle once and everyone thought it was won. Now that the disease has returned, Matt and his physicians are doing everything they can to be sure that, this time, the victory is permanent.
Sometime early next year, Matt will undergo a stem cell transplant. Healthy stem cells already harvested from his body will be reintroduced to his system to grow after the remaining cells are medicallydestroyed. For the past five months, Matt has undergone massive doses of chemotherapy to kill the remaining cells.
To aid in this fight, Matt will travel to Loma Linda University Medical Center (Calif.) in early December to undergo a new technique known as proton radiation therapy. Extremely high doses of proton radiation are used to kill the tumor, but not the adjacent tissue. Virtually all of the tumor-fighting ionization occurs in the tumor instead of being dissipated in the adjoining tissue. The proton radiation therapy is custom designed for each patient and requires a daily treatment, five-days-per-week, for five or six weeks at Loma Linda Medical Center.
The treatment is very expensive and not all of it will be covered by insurance. The travel and lodging costs will also be very expensive. Matt always gave 110% to his team and to us -- his fans and friends. It's time for us to return the favor.
We urge fans and friends to join us in helping Matt and his family defray the medical and living expenses associated with this very expensive treatment. The Northwestern Gridiron Network has very generously contributed a start-up gift of $10,000 for the Matt Hartl Fund. Matt's expenses will exceed $200,000. Any size donation will be very warmly appreciated. His therapy will begin December 7.
Contributions should be sent to:
The Matt Hartl Fund
c/o Northwestern University Athletic Department
1501 Central Street
Evanston, Ill. 60208