As a sarcoma specialist in the region, every time Dr. Matthew DiCaprio enters the operating room, he knows that medical and emotional support to patients go hand in hand.
That’s why he founded Sarcoma Strong, an organization that supports families with their diagnosis and raises money for the disease.
“Most other cancers like carcinomas have large followings and great community support. Sarcoma, which is rare, doesn’t,” DiCaprio said.
Sarcoma is known as a ‘forgotten cancer’. It is one of the rarest, making up only 1% of all adult cancer diagnoses, according to the National Foundation for Cancer Research.
“Their families entrust their lives to me, to diagnose and treat them well, but then to learn more about them as people and individuals and be a part of their world has been truly inspiring,” said DiCaprio.
The Meier family is one of those groups of individuals who benefit from the advocacy and care of Dr. DiCaprio. Kathy Meier’s 17-year-old daughter, Jenna, was diagnosed in February. She is a patient of DiCaprio’s and her mother says her experience with him has changed her life.
“You really need a huge support system to get through something like that,” Meier said.
According to the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation, only 4% of funding goes to childhood cancer. Meier says organizations like Sarcoma Strong need all the support they can get.
“It could be any of our children. It’s a bit cliche to think this won’t happen to your family, but it did,” Meier said.
Jenna’s fight tells Kathy that Sarcoma Strong and Doctor DiCaprio will be on their side.
“I’ve had so many friends who said this could have been one of our kids,” Meier said.