How Matthew beat cancer and helped build a medical clinic in Guatemala

Feb 15 2018, 3:39 am

In October 2013, Matthew Boroditsky was starting his last year of high school when he noticed a lump on his chest. After a round of tests, he learned he had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. Quickly swept up into a world of doctor’s appointments, scans, checks, and injections, Matt had just finished his second round of chemotherapy when he found out he could ask for a wish.

Kids and teens diagnosed with a life-threatening illness are eligible to receive a wish from the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada. These wishes could be trips, experiences, items – or something completely unique.

For Matthew, a life-changing experience years earlier made him think twice about how he would use his one and only wish.”It’s not often that people get wishes like this. I asked myself: ‘How can I seize this opportunity to make an impact?,’” Matt says.

He began constructing what Children’s Wish calls a “giving wish” – using his wish for the benefit of someone else. In high school, Matthew travelled to Guatemala with his class to visit Project Somos Children’s Village – an eco-sustainable community for at-risk mothers and children in Guatemala. Seeing how hard these families worked to earn life’s basic necessities and the complete health inequities in this country changed Matt’s perspective of the world. When he returned, he knew he wanted to somehow make a positive lasting impact for Project Somos and the surrounding poverty-stricken communities.

Matthew at Clinica de Mateo/Children’s Wish Foundation

He decided his most heartfelt wish was to build a medical clinic in Guatemala. This was a first for Children’s Wish, but after much research, they agreed to help fund Matt’s dream with a seed donation specifically to fund a health clinic at Project Somos.

Three years of planning, fundraising, and with the help of the St. George’s school community, Matt and his family travelled back to Guatemala in August 2017 to cut the ribbon at the brand-new “Clinica De Mateo.” The clinic has three clinic rooms, an internet café/educational room, a large storage area for medical supplies, and a shower to accommodate women in the labour process.

“When I was in Guatemala and these people said ‘thank you for doing this for my country and my community, it was a whole new level [of gratitude] that I would have never dreamed of. It was full circle from sitting in a hospital bed receiving my treatment, to working with Children’s Wish and Project Somos, to that day.”

A big part of the power of a wish is showing the light amid the darkness – giving kids and teens like Matt a reason to keep hoping, dreaming, and planning for their future.

“When you’re in such a dark place, and there’s not much you can control, Children’s Wish Foundation gives you that sense of hope and that sense of control, like ‘I still get to have that dream.'” Matt, who’s now in medical school at UBC, says. “It brightens your experience that much more, as it did for me. It is an integral part of the health care system.”

Matthew at Clinica de Mateo/Children’s Wish Foundation

Matthew’s story will be shared at the Children’s Wish BC & Yukon Chapter’s annual Night of Wonders Gala on March 8 at London Aviation Centre hangar. The gala’s theme ‘Wishes Take Flight’ celebrates the magnitude and power of a wish. This will be the foundation’s largest gala yet, and organizers hope the funds raised will grant as many as 50 wishes for B.C. and Yukon children.

“This spectacular evening is all about what a wish can do. Giving a child that hope and something they can look forward to during their darkest days is what we stand for, and we are so proud to be able to continue this important work throughout our region,” says Jennifer Petersen, the foundation’s Provincial Director.

The foundation is pulling out all the stops to symbolize how big a wish can be, including offering guests private helicopter transportation to the 64,000 square foot venue with an additional donation. Once inside, they’ll be treated to entertainment, a three-course dinner created by The Lazy Gourmet, and an exciting live and silent auction.

There are a limited number of tickets for this luxe event remaining right now. For more information and to get yours, visit,

Night of Wonders Gala 2018

When: March 8
Time: Reception 6 pm | Dinner 7 pm
Where: London Aviation Centre, South Terminal, YVR – 4580 Cowley Crescent, Richmond
Price: $500 per person – Purchase tickets or donate online

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