Matthew during treatment. Photos courtesy of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Matthew Hauser.

My name is Matthew Hauser. I am from Pennsylvania and am a stage four Burkitt’s lymphoma survivor. I was diagnosed with this aggressive form of cancer when I was only two and a half years old. Intensive chemotherapy saved my life, but also caused me to go into heart failure 14 years later. After living with a heart pump for almost a year, I underwent a heart transplant in March of 2023—a life-changing experience for me.

Despite these challenges, I never gave up on my dreams and my passion for helping others. This is why I am honored to represent The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and the Student Visionaries of the Year Program.

Student Visionaries of the Year is a philanthropic leadership development program for high school students. Over seven weeks of fundraising for LLS, students get to learn valuable skills and make a positive impact in their communities.

But how does the money raised actually make a difference for people affected by blood cancer? As a survivor and a candidate, I’ve seen LLS’s work in funding cutting-edge research, providing patient services and education, and advocating for policies that benefit cancer patients and survivors.

Here are just some of the research projects that LLS supports:

  • Developing new therapies that target genetic mutations. 
  • Testing new combinations of drugs that can prevent relapse.
  • Finding ways to prevent the long-term side effects of cancer treatments, such as relapse and heart damage—which I personally experienced.
Matthew proudly announcing his candidacy for Student Visionaries of the Year outside his home in Malvern, Pennsylvania. Photos courtesy of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Matthew Hauser.

In addition to advancing science behind blood cancer treatment, LLS is also helping families with practical challenges of living with cancer. They offer free information, support groups online and all over the country, and educational programs to anyone who needs them. They also advocate for healthcare policies that ensure access to quality care.

But none of this would be possible without the help of people like you. People who care, who give, who volunteer, who spread awareness for blood cancers. People who come from different backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives, but share a common vision and mission. People who are part of a diverse and inclusive team that works together to achieve a common goal.

The Student Visionaries of the Year program is so important and valuable because it puts this collaboration on display, in multiple ways:

  • It teaches not just leadership skills, but also social skills.
  • It connects people who may be different from each other, but who share a passion and values.
  • It encourages us to learn from each other, to respect each other, and to support each other.
  • It helps us to grow—as individuals and as a community.
Matthew was named 2023 Greater Philadelphia Student Visionary of the Year, raising over $220,000 for LLS. Photos courtesy of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Matthew Hauser.

My mission is to make sure that no child has to suffer the way I did, or worse. That every child has a chance to live a long and healthy life. That someday, we can say that we live in a world without blood cancers.

My personal campaign goal was to raise $200,000 for LLS to support their efforts to find safer and less toxic treatments for pediatric blood cancer patients, like me. It was an ambitious goal that at times felt impossible to reach. I am proud to say that my team and I absolutely demolished that goal—thanks to the generosity and support of my family, friends, and community.

But our work is far from over, and none of us can do this alone. I need your help. I need you to join me in this mission. I need you to be part of this team, this movement. Together, we can make a difference. Together, we can save lives. Together, we can create a world with safer blood cancer treatments.

Will you join me?

To learn more about the Student Visionaries of the Year program, visit

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About the Author

Matthew Hauser is a junior in Malvern, PA.  

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