Matt Ellefson is a husband and father of five children. In the fall of 2009, he developed a cough that he couldn’t shake. He felt and looked fine, so he went on with his life without giving it much thought. Then one morning in December 2009, Matt began coughing up blood. Within hours, Matt and his wife, Melissa, were told that he had late stage lung cancer. Matt searched for treatment options and found a clinical trial in Houston, Texas.
He recalls his feelings after diagnosis, “…the worst part of my cancer journey was the wait. Not the pain from the cancer and treatment, but the wait from the time of diagnosis to when I began treatments. Many other survivors I talk to share the same experience.”
The experimental treatment in Houston was successful, and in 2010 Matt’s cancer went into remission. Since then, he has had six recurrences, all of which have also been treated successfully.
Matt lives an active life that includes running and cycling competitions, endurance sports, speaking engagements, and exploring the world with his family. He is the CEO and founder of SURVIVEiT, an online mobile resource developed by cancer survivors to help cancer patients. Matt serves as a spiritual mentor and national cancer advocate through his work with Celebrate Community Church, WIN Consortium, LUNGevity Foundation, Imerman Angels, American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, PhRMA and LIVESTRONG. He has been featured on SiriusXM Doctor’s Radio, Washington Post, Forbes magazine, US News & World Report, the cover of BizNOW magazine, CURE magazine, and numerous PSA print, radio and television broadcasts. He also serves on the oncology IRB with the Avera Cancer Institute.