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UPDATE: Matthew Schreindorfer completes first phase of cancer treatment in New York

ON THE PHONE: Katia Luciani speaks to Global News about her husband’s expensive cancer treatment 

MONTREAL –  After appealing to the public for help, Matthew Schreindorfer wrote on Facebook that he has finished the first part of an experimental gene therapy treatment.

“As you all must have read in the last update, I’m now an outpatient and receiving chemotherapy treatments while my T-Cells are being produced in the cell laboratory,” he wrote.

“As always, Katia, my family, my friends and I are so grateful for your constant support, and for many of your incredible efforts in organizing so many diverse and exciting mini-fundraising campaigns on your own.”

The 25-year-old Laval-native was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) last summer.

Schreindorfer’s wife Katia Luciani was able to raise over $600,000 through a crowd funding campaign to allow him to take part in a clinical trial at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

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The family released this video to thank everyone who has helped him:

Schreindorfer had just come back from his honeymoon when he started experiencing symptoms.

WATCH: Your Sunday Say – Helping save Matthew

“He was feeling very, very exhausted, he had mild cold symptoms and fever, it went on for five weeks,” Luciani told Global News.

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She said they visited multiple hospitals around Quebec and doctors believed he might have had mono.

On Aug. 8, 2014, exactly two months after the high school sweethearts got married, Schreindorfer was diagnosed with leukemia.

Three days after returning from our honeymoon on June 19, 2014, Schreindorfer started to develop many symptoms – exhaustion, flu-like symptoms, abdomen pain, night sweats, fever, etc,
Three days after returning from our honeymoon on June 19, 2014, Schreindorfer started to develop many symptoms – exhaustion, flu-like symptoms, abdomen pain, night sweats, fever, etc,. Katia Luciani

“It was a total shock, Matthew was always so strong, he’s a hockey player, super in shape, it just didn’t make sense.”

Schreindorfer started chemotherapy the following day and after three intensive induction treatments, plus a round of immunotherapy, the biopsy showed that his body was not responding, the cancer was still there.

That’s when his doctors recommended he try the CART-19 clinical trial, which is only offered in the United States and cost between $600,000 and $800,000.

WATCH: Fundraiser held for man fighting rare for of leukemia

“It has had 90 per cent success rate with leukemia like his, so this is the best option we have now,” explained Luciani.

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“We’re astonished about how much people have donated already and all the nice comments and support people have shown, it’s insane, I wasn’t expecting that.”

Despite the obstacles they’re facing and the emotional roller coaster they’ve been through, the couple is staying optimistic.

“We can’t just stay here and do nothing, we have to try to get the best care he can possibly get.”

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