By Susan Carroll
Lake Orion Review Writer
Diagnosed with Metach-romatic Leukodystrophy (MLD) by his neurologist in March, Matt Maskill, at the age of 20, finally have the answer he and his mother have been searching for since he was in elementary school.
Maskill and his family must now travel to Minneapolis for three-and-a-half months while he undergoes and recovers from chemotherapy and a bloodstem cell transplant.
MLD is a rare fatal genetic disorder where a missing blood enzyme destroys the brain and central nervous system of its victim. The initial signs of MLD are like those of ADHD, such as difficulties in school and home, concentration and behavioral problems.
Matt was in elementary school when he was diagnosed with ADHD and was prescribed medication to help control the symptoms, such as difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
“He was taking the medication and it wasn’t working, he just kept getting worse,”said his mother, Amber Maskill.
Matt continued to have organizational and memory issues, the symptoms of MLD that mirror those of ADHD.
Matt has been a resident of Lake Orion since 2004. Before that, he and his family lived in Oxford since 1999.
A bowling fundraiser, #StrikeOutMLD, has been organized to help the Maskills with the mounting medical, travel and living expenses while in Minnesota.
Matt has a passion for bowling and was a member of the bowling team while at Lake Orion High School. He continues to bowl weekly.
He attended PineTree Elementary and Oakview Middle School.
“Matt loves the support from Lake Orion and Oxford.He loves feeling like people care about him. Even people hedoesn’t know are supporting him,”said Amber. She is asking anyone looking for something fun to do for a couple hours to come out to the fundraiser to meet Matt, get to know him and help save his life.
There is no cure for MLD.
The only therapy is a stem cell or bone marrow transplant. The treatment aims to stop the progression of the disease, but it does not reverse the damage already done. Matt’s only hope is treatment involving chemotherapy and a blood stem cell transplant. The University of Minnesota offers that treatment and Matt has been accepted as a patient.
“It is the best place in the U.S. They have the best experts (on MLD),” said Amber.
The disease is genetic, so anyone related to Matt was not eligible to be a donor.
A donor was found in early October.
The course of his treatment lasts for 100 days.
For eight weeks, Matt will be in and out of the hospital and must remain within 30 minutes of the hospital during that time. Chemotherapy will be the first course of treatment Matt will receive.
For four days, chemo is administered to kill off the enzymes that are negatively affecting his blood. He will then receive the bloodcell transplant from his donor.
After 100 days, Matt will return home with a Hickmanline, a central venous catheter used to administer medications and for blood draws.
The line will remain in Matt’s chest for an additional 80 days and he will take post-transplant medication for 6-8 months.
#StrikeOutMLD bowling fundraiser for Matt Maskill:
• Noon – 4 p.m. Sept. 10.
• Collier Lanes, 879 S. Lapeer Rd. in Ox-ford.
• Bowlers ages 13 and over, $15; ages 12and under, $10. Cash or personal checks only.
• There also will be a 50/50 drawing, raffle prizes, a cash bar and food available.
• Donations may also be made at any TCFBank to the “Benefit for Matthew Maskill”account. No account number is required. Mail check donations made out to the benefit to TCF Bank, 200 E. Auburn Rd., Rochester Hills, MI 48309.