‘If You Smell…’ How The Rock Made My 2021 With An Inspirational Video About My Cancer Fight

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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.

Written by Matt Loede

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."


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  1. Matt, I’m a fellow cancer overcomer. And you’re right, some types render us never completely out of the woods. I loved how the Rock busted out the his phone app right after he read your e-mail and sent that very cool message. I was a Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson fan of sorts before, but a big one now.

  2. Wow, so much power in this story Matt. Thank you for sharing about your courageous battle. I loved seeing the Rock bringing you such amazing energy and truly putting words and energy out to you and this universe that are 100% filled with compassion, strength, positivity, and unity. One of the most positive energy stories and videos I’ve seen in 2020/2021. Keep fighting my friend and for the Rock, please keep putting out that positive and unifying energy. The universe is stronger because of this story and message. Thank you, thank you.

  3. Nice to see a celebrity using their platform in the right way. That was a great message from The Rock. Matt, I don`t have any idea about your journey so far, but i`m praying for you. Keep God on your side and you can do this. If you`re not a believer, become one. You can`t do this without Him. The only thing I can say is: everything is one day at a time and keep your faith……just keep going! Make sure you keep us updated………..
    Prayers up!!

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