We're very honoured to introduce you to our 2020 Beanie for Brain Cancer Ambassadors - The Forster family. The three loves of Matt Forster’s life, wife Carly and kids Imogen and Aidan, who’s lives were shattered when Matt lost a long, brave battle against brain cancer in 2019.
Please take a moment to honour Matt’s life and read Carly’s important message:
It is a huge honour to be asked to be the 2020 Ambassadors for the Mark Hughes Foundation Beanie Campaign.
Brain Cancer has taken our world from us when it took Matt, the most perfect husband and daddy and I’m honoured to be a part of this years’ campaign to continue the fight in finding more treatment options and hopefully a cure.
When I sat to prepare our ‘story’ for the Campaign it really all comes down to 3 things that are important;
· The amazing human that Matt Forster is
· The amazing team that are the Mark Hughes Foundation and the support they provide (yes it can happen to you)
· What you can do to help.
Firstly, and most importantly, my everything, Matthew David Forster. What a privilege to be loved by Matt. Inevitably when someone passes away the tributes flow forth regarding what a wonderful person they were and how they were taken to soon. Never has a truer word been spoken then when describing Matt as the most selfless, loving person.
Matt was the person that always, without fail, put us first. Imogen, Aidan and I were Matty’s world and there was not a minute, even during his worst days that we didn’t feel like the luckiest family in the world to be blessed with him.
We had plans for a lifetime together, plans for our children and hopefully one day our grandchildren. We were those people that thought it won’t happen to us…..well it does, it could and it did happen to us.
Matt was first diagnosed on the 25th of August 2011, it was the worst thing we have ever heard. How could someone so young, healthy, fit, loved and adored have brain cancer?
On receiving this devastating diagnosis, we immediately reached for each other and then we reached for anything we could that would make this all go away. There must be a mistake and the results have been mixed up in the laboratory.
But I assure you what was to follow was no mistake and this was the beginning of a journey that I wouldn’t wish on any family.
We were rushed to the John Hunter Hospital where Dr John Christie performed surgery to remove as much of the 9cm by 6 cm by 3 cm tumour that they could. This was the first of 2 major surgeries for Matt and in the last two years alone constant monthly oral chemotherapy.
The one thing that we were sure of right from the beginning was that Matt wasn’t going to stop living. By this stage we knew that the statistics weren’t on our side but he was determined not to let them dictate our lives.
Whilst we got on with dealing with Matt’s Cancer, we also got on with living. We were blessed with two beautiful children Imogen and Aidan and they are as perfect as their Daddy. Matt would spend every spare moment with us, playing, laughing, hugging and kissing us. He had a way of making everything more fun with his creative mind, sense of adventure and his goal to make us happy and loved.
Matty was the person that everyone talks about fondly because they remember his sense of humour, his humility and his pure soul that you could almost feel when you were in the room with him. He was genuine and so selfless, I lost count of the times he apologised to the nurses who were taking his blood tests or bringing him a blanket because even in his worst times he was thinking of others.
Speaking of selfless, this brings me to point 2 and the amazing team of people that make up the Mark Hughes Foundation.
It is hard to explain to people the extent to which Brain Cancer affects all in its path, the little things you take for granted that are taken from you. In 2013 we heard the news of Mark’s diagnosis and not long after the Mark Hughes Foundation was formed. This was a defining moment in our journey and I can’t express my gratitude enough for the amazing work done by the foundation.
Matt and Mark are similar in so many ways young, fit, healthy, happy but most of all loved beyond measure by their wives, kids, family and friends. For Matt and I the Foundation felt like help was on its way and we just had to hold on tight and wait for a cure. We watched as the Mark Hughes Foundation grew bigger and bigger and with every beanie, every trek, every ball and every single bit of fundraising that was achieved we felt like Mark, Kirralee and the team would look after us…and that they did.
Our amazing nurses, Sandy and Alisha quickly became like family to us. They were with us every step of the way from navigating the mine field of chemotherapy tablets and procedures to asking the difficult questions when we couldn’t. They had the ability to sense when we were overwhelmed and when we were doing ok. They were always just phone call away which gave Matt and I such relief and allowed us to focus on what needed to done – allowed us to focus on the fight of our life.
In 2019, we got the news that we had fought off for so long. We were losing the battle and I was forced to deal with the reality of a life without my best friend and soul mate. No matter how long the lead in, I assure you I wasn’t ready.
During Matt’s final days both Alisha and Sandy visited during their work hours as well as outside. The love and care they offered both Matt and I during those moments was above and beyond their normal call of duty. They both hold a special piece of my broken heart and I will forever be grateful that the foundation gave us two of the best.
At times I find myself looking at Immy and Aidan and smile because I see so much of Matt in what they are doing and as much as that makes me smile and happy, it also breaks my heart just that little bit more. I take each day by day and when I can’t manage that, I take each hour by hour and often I am reduced to taking it minute by minute but there is one thing that remains constant – the Mark Hughes Foundation and their support of me and our kids. Over 12 months without Matty and Alisha and Sandy are still checking in on me and the kids. Always listening, always offering advice, love, support and guidance. So when I was approached by the Foundation to be the 2020 Ambassadors the decision was a simple one. Anything I can do to help those that have given me so much is not much of an ask.
There is only one thing that would ease the pain of brain cancer for those affected, only one thing that would have kept my family whole, and that is a cure.
The need for research in order to deliver better treatment options and eventually a cure is more important than ever and this brings me to point 3 – what can you do to help.
The answer is buy a Beanie during the 2020 Beanie Campaign.