Cancer is an ever-lasting issue that has affected so many and taken countless lives.
Now, two Tualatin resident high-school students, Tommy and Joey Mattecheck, hope to make their mark in this persistent disease. Since Jan. 14, the Mattechecks have been running a seven-week-long campaign that hopes to raise $50,000 by Mar. 6.
All proceeds will go towards the non-profit organization, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), which in turn use the proceeds to support blood cancer research and patient support. The Mattechecks’ reason to support such a cause? The issue struck home.
“We have had a lot of family, friends and relatives who’ve all been affected by cancer, not just leukemia,” Tommy told Tualatin Life. “So, it’s something that we were passionate about already and we’ve kind of took this opportunity to make a difference in the community.”
Long before their campaign took its start, the two boys were nominated as LLS Students of the Year by a volunteer with the organization and asked to compete in a statewide competition among six other teams to raise money for LLS. This year, the Mattechecks participate as the only team from Tualatin.
Joey Mattecheck is a freshman at Tualatin High School while Tommy Mattecheck is a junior attending Jesuit High School. Both of whom are leading this campaign while on their high schools’ baseball teams.
Typically, their schedules would be filled with an assortment of school, sports and work. This year, that isn’t the case, and actually allows for more time spent campaigning.
“I don’t think there’s any way we ever would have been able to possibly make this work if we were in a regular situation with school in our lives right now,” Tommy said. “So yeah, that’s definitely one of the benefits of COVID and not having our lives completely filled up in the way they usually are.”
An ordinary Students of the Year campaign relies on an assortment of in-person events as its bread and butter, but this year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to adapt.
The Mattechecks’ campaign involves spending extra time away from distance-learning and baseball practices brainstorming ideas and reaching out to others, from corporate sponsorships to friends and family.
“It’s actually been working surprisingly well, just getting people to spread the word,” Tommy said. “And you really find out how many people you really have in your bubble.”
“We’re able to find spare time to put work in, usually, because if we’re not at school, or baseball, or one of our sports activities, we have as much time set aside as we can for it,” Joey said.
Their first experience with LLS takes them back 10 years to a Portland event named Light the Night, an LLS fundraiser that included a walk through downtown Portland while carrying illuminated lanterns in support of those who’ve been affected by leukemia.
“We did the Light the Night fundraiser in downtown Portland,” Tommy said. “That was the first time we got involved in the LLS community. So, when we got nominated for this campaign, that was one thing that we remembered looking back on and how cool that was.”
Although this is the Mattechecks’ first involvement heading a fundraising campaign such as this, they have found it all the more fulfilling.
“It’s definitely been a learning process for us,” Tommy said. “But at the same time, we’ve already learned a lot, just in terms of communication, business relations and leadership for sure. … Plus, we’re not really people to back down from a challenge we’re given. So that’s kind of where our mindset is during this campaign.”
If you would like to learn more or contribute to Joey and Tommy Mattecheck’s campaign, please visit: events.LLS.org/oswim/PortlandSOY21/mcampaign.