'If You Smell...' How The Rock Made My 2021 With An Inspirational Video About My Cancer Fight

When I was diagnosed with stage four lymphoma (blood cancer) in May of 2019, I never realized not only the impact it would have on my life, but also the impact it would have on others.

When the doctors said it was cancer and it was serious, I didn't have time to think about my next move. I determined only that I wasn't going to allow it to define my life. It was going to be something that I could use to help others.


forward two years later.

My cancer has never completely gone away. Instead, it's considered "chronic" and something that I will likely live with forever.

Again, I was never going to allow it to define me or destroy me. If it was going to end my life, I was going to go down fighting, pushing back every step of the way with a motto I have since adopted -- "Whatever It Takes."

As a member of the Cleveland media since 1994, I've had the ability to reach and hear from people who have been both a blessing and an inspiration. And through a very close friend whom I have known for years, Thursday I received one of the most thoughtful and selfless gifts I have ever received.

That gift was a 2-minute, 14-second video from one of my heroes, a guy whom I have admired for many years for his performance in a pro wrestling ring, but now more so for his acting and the way he has used his reach to become one of the most recognizable people in the world. That would be none other than Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

To me, Johnson and his ability to reach people cannot be denied. He's given away cars, trucks and houses, and the charity he's done to help others cannot be overlooked.

For him to take the time to send that video to someone he doesn't even know, just to take five minutes and record a video and read my story -- which has been documented in the local newspaper and on the local news stations -- is a blessing I'll never forget.

His social media reach of 15.1 million on Twitter was on display, as over 230,000 people have seen the video. Hopefully, if someone else who is struggling sees it, they will know that they are not alone, just like "The Great One" reminded me in a 134-second video.

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Matt has been a part of the Cleveland Sports landscape working in the media since 1994 when he graduated from broadcasting school. His coverage beats include the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers. He's written three books, and won the "2020 AP Sports Stringer Lifetime Service Award."