Despite cancer, Bonaire teen shines light on others

Sun News correspondentJuly 31, 2013 

Wrestling fans gathered at the Macon Coliseum on Saturday to watch a live show of the WWE Raw World Tour. One of them was supposed to be Mathew Majka, of Bonaire.

But plans for a pizza party and limo ride to the show to celebrate his 13th birthday, which was Monday, were canceled when Mathew developed complications from his illness. When Mathew was 9, he developed cancer in his pineal gland that spread throughout his body.

He can no longer walk and uses a wheelchair. He battled the cancer for three and half years until he decided to end treatment two months ago. Throughout his ordeal he has always remained hopeful.

“His positive outlook is great. It’s top notch. He’s really mature for his age,” said Rufus L. Harrell III, a registered nurse who has been caring for Mathew for the past month. Harrell said Mathew wanted to stop treatment because he had enough of the grueling process and just wanted to be happy.

His hospice program, Hospice Care Options of Macon and Warner Robins, got four tickets to the WWE show and arranged the limo ride and pizza party for Mathew, whose favorite wrestlers are Kane and the Undertaker.

When Harrell found out about the WWE event, “I was yelling and jumping around and everything. He’s big into wrestling. It was great that the hospice provided that for him. It’s like a last hurrah.”

Despite the illness, Mathew has made an impact on many people’s lives.

“Even though he’s been facing this, he’s always this bright sunshine,” said his stepmother, Sharla Majka. “Whenever I need it, he’s always there to pick me up. ‘Come on Shar, it’s not that bad. It will be fine.’ He’s the brightest child I ever met.”

Mathew had aspirations to be an airman and fly planes.

At age 4 he was able to discuss computers with his grandfather. By age 6 he was reading the Harry Potter book series.

Instead of needing encouragement, he offers it to others. His stepmother recalls a story of what he did for a friend who was going through a rough time.

“He took a rose, (and) cut it down. Took a saying from ‘Dragonheart’ and he presented it to her and said, ‘Half my heart to make you whole, its strength to purify your weakness.’”

When it comes to his illness, Harrell said Mathew is “very quiet.”

“He does not let it show if he’s in pain. He’s very mature for his age. He knows what’s going on. He’s quiet about the illness but other than that he’s very talkative.

“Even though he has something that can’t be fixed, he still wants to be treated like a 12- or 13-year-old kid. You can still live a life to the fullest, even if you have something that can’t be fixed.”

Mathew asks that he be kept in prayer. Words of encouragement can be sent to P.O. Box 878, Bonaire, GA 31005.

Contact A.I. Carter at callexthea@gmail.com.

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