Matthew Bernstein lost his younger brother, Zachary, to a terminal brain tumor in 2014. Matthew was only in the eighth grade at the time, but experiencing such trauma changed the course of his life forever and inspired him to do something that would help children like Zachary in the future.
In fact, Matthew spent the summer of 2016 working in the lab at the Children’s Brain Tumor Project Weill Cornell Medicine, before going off to study pre-med at Brandeis University this September. His time in the CBTP lab was funded by the Samuel Jeffers Foundation, and his work helped kick-start the lab’s efforts to build a database of thalamic glioma samples – data that has proven to be invaluable in the lab’s current research efforts.
Matthew has been involved in the field of pediatric brain cancer since Zachary’s death. In addition to his scientific endeavors, he is also the Youth Volunteer Coordinator for the Fly a Kite Foundation, which was co-founded by his parents, David and Deena Bernstein, to support other families facing DIPG. He hopes to join the Board of Directors post-graduation, as well.
“When [Zachary] was sick, I saw a lot of oncologists, physical therapists, anesthesiologists and what they do,” he told the Long Island Herald. “Because of my experiences, I was exposed to the neurological field and surgery, so I’m leaning toward that now.”
Matthew is a highly focused individual who wants to make a difference in the lives of children diagnosed with brain tumors in the future. Not only has he volunteered with the Children’s Brain Tumor Project, he also worked as an intern under the direction and mentorship of Dr. Oren Becher, Assistant Professor of Hematology-Oncology; Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center, Duke School of Medicine.
“My overall objectives are to learn and experience life and soak in as much as I can while navigating my academics, personal journey and career path,” says Matthew. “I will take what I learned from working in the labs and working at Fly a Kite as a foundation for future opportunities and exposure to the world of science and research.”
Matthew Bernstein is doing something. Will you? Donate to the Children’s Brain Tumor Project today.