LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Since 2015, WAVE 3 News has followed the journey of Matthew Walker, a 12-year-old boy at the time who’s now had to fight for his life four times against leukemia.
Walker is still fighting, currently at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, as he faces one of the toughest moments in his long battle, a debilitating stroke.
WAVE 3 News has documented his journey through the years as part of the family’s mission to show the cruel reality of childhood cancer, hoping to bring awareness and funding for a cure.
Matthew was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in August 2020 after 477 days of being cancer-free.
This week, while receiving treatments for a series of complications, the boy’s parents noticed something was terribly wrong.
“Something definitely neurological is going on with him and that team is now also involved,” his father Dion posted on social media Sunday. “He’s now non verbal as well. When he tries to talk, it comes out as grunts, facial expressions & moans, that lead to frustration and eventually crying, which we believe is because he’s so frustrated that he can’t communicate.”
Doctors later confirmed Matthew had suffered a stroke, yet he still found the strength to say one word: “Mom.”
The Walkers are a military family from Elizabethtown. Dion Walker served in the Army, volunteering to be deployed multiple times so his fellow soldiers wouldn’t be fighting alone.
In that spirit, just days before his son’s stroke, Matthew asked for his parents to not feel alone, making a plea for his own army of supporters to send them cards and wishes of hope.
The cards and messages have been coming in, with the Walkers reading every single one to Matthew.
Tuesday brought some much-needed hope as Matthew woke up and pointed at a box of juice on the table before shaking his head yes when asked if he wanted to drink, his father wrote.
“Our son, MATTHEW ALAN WALKER!!” Dion posted. “We’ll take every victory we can get. This is huge! We are nowhere near being out of the woods yet, but this is a great sign! Let’s keep those Prayers coming.”
“Yes this grown man had tears,” Dion continued. “He is fighting so hard!!”
The next few days will be critical, as doctors are unable to treat the stroke at the risk of losing Matthew in process. He remains under close observation.
Inspired by the slogan, “love is greater than cancer,” the Walkers continue to fight.
“Please keep him in your prayers, thoughts, just anything or everything you believe in over the next 48 hrs,” Dion posted. “He’s fighting so hard to just survive this.”
Cards can be addressed to Matthew Walker at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. You can also click here to send an e-card.
And click here to read more about Matthew’s journey.