A Tribute To Our Founder, Matt Ellefson

One year has passed since we lost our Founder, Matt Ellefson. The gravity of that has a tendency to pull one into a sad, empty place. I’ve been here before. I’m sure you have too. Maybe you’re here for the first time. Something about the amount of time that passes since you last heard their voice, hugged them, and felt their presence, is a rather large pill to swallow. Perhaps it’s just a moment of consciousness in how we have to move on, move forward without them. Thankfully, there are little treasures that we hold on to and carry with us to help put one foot in front of the other – be they memories, words of wisdom, fond mannerisms, or tangible items.

I have intentionally kept the texts from him about how it was a “GREAT day to be alive!” Mind you, a man living with stage IV lung cancer who was experiencing rather uncomfortable (to put it lightly) side effects and physical changes to his body from the years and years of various treatments was reminding ME of that. And, boy, did he mean it. It’s one of the most inspiring things about Matt: how encouraging he was to those around him, even on the days he felt like garbage.

So, how are we living fearless in the absence of Matt? (By “we” I mean SURVIVEiT®. But also, I’m asking you as a gentle nudge to self-reflect. 😉 )

I am proud of how his legacy is living on through SURVIVEiT®. This tool that we’re building is largely happening because of him. Many of you reading this benefitted from his personal mentorship or maybe just support SURVIVEiT® because you’re a wonderful friend of his. Regardless, how he lived, how we carved a new path, and how he guided others down theirs are the truest inspiration.

He was a “tell it like it is” guy. Few things fired him up more than the fact that 1,600 Americans are dying of cancer everyday and we, as a country, have become complacent. He’s right.

We believe the tool we’re working tirelessly to get funding for will save the lives of many, just by accessing better care – care they didn’t know existed. Better treatment options. Better doctors. Better support on and after treatment.

It’s going to take bold fearlessness to bring this new tool to market and get it in the hands of those who desperately need it. We’re up for the task. We have to be. People need it.

Matt would be proud of this organization, this tool and what we are doing for patients and caregivers. SURVIVEiT® is moving forward “in a BIG WAY.” (Another phrase he liked to use! 🙂 )

Rest assured, Matt’s unwavering faith, compassion, intrepidity and wisdom is much of the fuel that drives this organization forward. And forward we are going. Please stay with us. It’s going to take an army.

Guess what? It IS a GREAT day to be alive!

Let’s LiVE FEARLESS today and everyday in honor of our friend, Matt.

– Joy Brewster Rusthoven