Trine met Matt Simpson when she was backpacking around Australia in 1998.
“I was struck by his positivity,” she remembers. “He had a really great outlook on life. He was the kind of person who would call people on their birthdays every year.”
They fell in love, and after just a few months together knew they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, travelling and enjoying life. This brought them to London and later Singapore where they started a family.
Cancer was the last thing on their minds, until a couple of months before their youngest son Oliver was born, and Matt began having issues with digestion. Matt sought help but his symptoms worsened with weight loss, heartburn and stomach pains. He and Trine saw a gastroenterologist and were told that Matt had a rare type of stomach cancer called Linitus Plastica. Linitis Plastica has very poor early diagnosis and treatment options resulting in only 8% of patients surviving after five years, leaving few survivors who can raise awareness of the need for new treatments
After months of chemo and surgery to remove his stomach, Matt’s cancer became incurable. He spent his last six weeks in a hospice surrounded by close family and friends. He passed away in November 2013, aged 40 – a few days after celebrating his son Daniel‘s 4th birthday and a year after diagnosis.
Since Matt’s passing, Trine has been motivated by a desire for change, setting up the Silly Hat for Matt Gutsy Challenge and raising over $22,000.
“I do not want Matt’s cancer and his death to be just another statistic in the rare cancer book, which nobody ever reads,” Trine says. “Too often with linitis plastica, there is no one to tell their story. I know Matt would have given me his blessing to raise awareness by telling his.”