Pico Rivera Cancer Survivor Gets Backpack and Special Celebrity Visit
Matthew “Matu” Ignacio is just 11 years old and eager to get back into the swing of things, now that he’s surviving cancer. At age six, he was diagnosed with brain cancer and had two tumors removed. Now, with medication and monitoring, Matu can get back to the good stuff of childhood.
Part of growing up is going to school. Assistant Sheriff Gross and deputy personnel from the Vital Intervention Directional Alternatives youth program, known as VIDA, came to Matu’s house and presented him and his two older brothers with backpacks and school supplies.
Matu has a connection with the VIDA deputies; they mentored him and have been in his life over the past few years, through all the ups and downs. Matu also regularly speaks to at-risk kids participating in the program and offers words of perspective about uncertain tomorrows. Life is precious and not guaranteed, which is why we must cherish each minute. Even in Matu’s short time on earth, he has a great understanding of this concept, considering the circumstances he faced.
In an exciting moment at the event, Matu was appointed as an honorary Sheriff’s Explorer and presented with their uniform shoulder patches. His face beamed with happiness and pride as he accepted the gift.
Actor Cody Walker also attended this special occasion and offered his support and encouragement as Matu continues his journey to improved health.