When Jeff Reid found out his brother, Matt, had been diagnosed with appendiceal cancer, his initial thought was, "Why not just remove the appendix?" He learned it's not that simple.
Appendiceal cancer is relatively rare, affecting approximately 1,500 people in the U.S. each year. Most don't exhibit symptoms until the disease is advanced. Matt's cancer had advanced to stage IV by the time he arrived at MD Anderson.
Jeff credits MD Anderson with extending Matt's life four additional years following the diagnosis, time the brothers spent healing the kind of rift strong-willed siblings often endure. By the time Matt passed away in 2013, they had rebuilt their brotherly bond.
Jeff, along with Steve Ingle and Elizabeth Craft, who grew up together in Alvin, Texas, created The Matthew Scot Reel Deel Foundation Inc. The organization uses hunting, fishing and live music events to raise funding for appendiceal cancer research and spread awareness of the disease. Last year the nonprofit donated $30,000 for MD Anderson research. Jeff expects to match that figure by the end of 2015.
"We're doing it for the doctors, for the people who are in the fight," Jeff says. "I want to help the ones who are researching appendiceal cancer to eradicate this disease."