My name is Matt Dillon, but most people call me “Mex”, for looking like a little Mexican kid when I was 12. I was 26 at the time of being diagnosed with a stage 3 brain tumour (21 March 2014). People respond in many different ways when the conversation turns to cancer so I created this website to allow people to read into my story in their own time, to feel their own emotions, and to process their thoughts. I hope that people who read my story will feel more hope, optimism and feel inspired from my life that they then put that towards fulfilling the rest of their own lives, and feel less of the sadness and sympathy around cancer.
I’ve grown up with a healthy lifestyle full of sports and activities under the Australian sun. I grew up in Sydney for 11 years, Tamworth for one year, Brisbane for 13 years, and the last year in Manchester, UK. Ever since I was young, we would be playing a long list of sports all year round, at the gym or just fooling around at the footy ovals having fun. I’ve always tried to eat relatively healthy foods, but as everyone does I’ve also enjoyed the odd dose of junk food and drinking. Overall I’ve always tried to maintain a healthy level of body maintenance and nutrition.
I’ve always studied relatively hard (maybe not always), completing a Degree in Science (biomedical science) and a Masters in Business (accounting) and have tried to keep my brain ticking and learning new things, both mentally and physically. I work at Deloitte (a Big 4 professional services firm) to help companies who are at the forefront of Research and Development in various industries including manufacturing, IT and software, agriculture, mining, science and medical devices. I must also mention how appreciative I am of how supportive the management have been at Deloitte UK to support me through my treatment.
I don’t have a family history of cancer, whether that is brain cancer or other types of cancer.
So, at the news of being diagnosed with a late stage incurable brain tumour I was completely shocked. At such a “young age”. How? Why?
My first thought was “how does this happen to me, after I’ve tried so hard to be the healthiest I can be consistently over the years?” I’m still figuring this out. I have spent a lot of time soul searching, changing my outlook on life wondering what I could have done to change this, to avoid being in this situation. But what I have realised so far is that these are the cards I’ve been dealt. What has happened in my life has always happened for a reason and I am thankful for the good and the bad to make me who I am. What happens to me now can only be influenced by my attitude, lifestyle and decisions to a certain extent, but my fate and life expectancy are down to science and what clinical trials and cancer research can do to keep me alive for as long as possible.