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Hersch benefit set for May 1

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Family and friends are rallying around Matthew Hersch with a special benefit event planned for Saturday, May 1, from 5 to 9 p.m. in the Legends Event Center (formerly Speedway Events Center), 680 W. Main Ave., West Fargo, ND. The evening will feature a sloppy joe meal, silent auction, raffle, live music, bake sale and kids activities.

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Matthew, the son of Kathleen and Jeff Hersch of West Fargo, has been battling cancer for over a year. In February 2009, at the age of 17, he underwent surgeries and then months of grueling chemotherapy. 

Thought to be cancer-free, Matthew returned to school in the fall of 2009, taking extra credits and on-line courses so that he could fulfill his dream of graduating with the rest of his classmates and friends.

But shortly after Christmas 2009, he was diagnosed with a leukemia that is very rarely brought on by the first chemotherapy treatments. He went back into the hospital on New Year's Eve.

Consequently, Matthew will be undergoing treatments for the next three years. Each week he spends a full day at Roger Maris Cancer Center receiving chemotherapy. Spinal taps and bone marrow biopsies are an almost weekly occurrence. He is also hospitalized each month for in-hospital chemotherapy treatments.

The accumulating medical expenses and loss of income due to unpaid time-off has made a huge financial impact on the family. All funds raised at the benefit will go to the Hersch family to help defray medical expenses related to Matthew's treatment.

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend the benefit. Matthew's mother said the family is appreciative for the outpouring of support that has already occurred during Matthew's illness. "We are already overwhelmed by all the people who have showed us so much caring and compassion."

She said as many Hersch family members as possible will be attending the benefit, including Matthew's sister, Maria. It is uncertain whether Matthew will be able to attend because of the intensity of his treatments.

Those unable to be there, but who would still like to make a contribution can do so online by visiting: www.dakmed.org/lendahand, clicking on: "Make a Donation," then clicking "Learn MoreMake a Donation," "Individual/Family Benefit Funds" and selecting "Matthew Hersch Benefit Fund."

Donations can also be mailed to: Matthew Hersch Benefit Fund, Gate City Bank, 1119 9th St. E. West Fargo, N.D. 58078.

Organizers are also accepting donated items for the silent auction and raffle, which can be made by contacting Steve Parmer at 701-232-6916 or Toni Hanson at 701-541-5154.

Dakota Medical Foundation Lend A Hand is also offering support by matching the first $5000 in donations made to the Matthew Hersch benefit fund.

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