In June of 2015, weeks after his graduation cum laude from Centenary College in New Jersey, Matthew Adam Lehrman was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic osteosarcoma. For two years Matthew fought the rare childhood bone cancer, all the while remaining cheerful and determined to beat the disease.
From hospital beds around the country, Matthew enthusiastically raised money for the patient-based MIB Agents charity. Matthew lost his battle on May 3, 2017. The Matthew Lehrman Osteosarcoma Fund is continuing his work.
With less than 1000 new diagnoses annually in the United States, osteosarcoma is a rare disease that is grossly underfunded. The Matthew Lehrman Osteosarcoma Fund was formed to continue Matthew's mission to increase awareness of this disease, to raise money for research and clinical trials, to advocate for patients, and to provide resources for their families
Matthew loved life! His passions included art, food, movies, and hockey. He also enjoyed traveling to places where he could experience them all! We celebrate Matthew’s passions by raising crucial funds for research and patient services through fine art auctions, gastronomic affairs, and hockey events.
"Osteosarcoma is the most common bone tumor in children and adolescents. However, even so, it is exceedingly rare and difficult to study, with only 400 children and teenagers diagnosed each year in the United States. This particular type of childhood cancer can be very aggressive, and often presents with ongoing pain in a bone in the body. This devastating bone cancer commonly spreads to the lungs of patients, and when this happens, it unfortunately leads to very poor survival like with Matthew.
Osteosarcoma usually occurs in the long bones of children and growing teenagers, like the upper or lower leg bones, or sometimes the upper arm bones. It also can happen in other bones in the body, like elvis and skull. Osteosarcoma can sometimes be due to genetic risk, or inherited predisposition, other times there’s no known risk that can be found. When treated with a combination of surgery and chemotherapy, the survival rate of localized osteosarcoma can be as high as 75%.
Sadly, as many as 5 children will already have tumor that spread to other parts of the body at diagnosis and their survival is much lower, sometimes even less than 30%. Even children and teenagers that survive osteosarcoma are left with a lifetime of side effects and chronic diseases including amputated limbs and heart disease.
The only way to make a difference to improve survival rates for osteosarcoma is to study it very carefully. However, trying to do research is very challenging in tumors that are so rare like osteosarcoma that they’re often called “orphan diseases.” We do know that osteosarcoma has many different changes in the genomic DNA in the tumor, and this may be one way to target it. Even though osteosarcoma is incredibly rare in children, this same cancer is very common in pet dogs with over 10,000 new diagnoses each year (some veterinary oncologists think there may be as many 50,000 new cases of osteosarcoma in dogs!).
Some scientists and pediatric cancer doctors work together with veterinarians to try to find new medicines to first test in pet dogs and then move onto testing children. This is because having so many pet dogs that can be patients is a good way to save dogs and also to learn more about osteosarcoma as quickly as possible. At the end of the day, we need to do more to focus on osteosarcoma and how to beat this deadly cancer in children and teenagers. This wonderful collection of renowned chefs’ recipes is a delicious way to honor Matthew and support osteosarcoma research as he did so passionately."