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Oyster roast benefits 3-year-old battling cancer ANNUAL OYSTER ROAST BENEFIT
Chance tumble gets Caroline County youngster timely help treating fast-spreading cancer

 The Oyster Roast benefit will help the Rose family pay medical bills. Matthew is regaining his energy now, even playing in the snow yesterday with older brother Justin.
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Date published: 3/3/2009

By Rob Hedelt

WHEN 2-year-old Matthew Rose slipped and banged his abdomen last Memorial Day on the steps to the trampoline in his Caroline County backyard, it may have saved his life.

When the youngster felt poorly the next day, well beyond what a minor bump should have caused, parents Laurie and Donald Rose hustled from their Lake Land'or home to Mary Washington Hospital.

Doctors there sent the youngster to the VCU Medical Center. Tests showed a Wilms tumor on Matthew's kidney.

He had an operation to remove his right kidney several days later. The fast-growing tumor had also spread to his liver. Doctors were able to remove the tumor, but said small parts of it may have broken off into his abdomen during the operation.

That's why Matthew, now 3, has undergone a round of radiation and 25 weeks of chemotherapy over the past year, finishing up just before Christmas.

"If he hadn't slipped and hit his stomach on those stairs, we wouldn't have found out about the tumor when we did," Donald said. The Rose family--Matthew, two brothers and a sister--counts their blessings for that and for their son's energy.

And even though they have health insurance, the 30 percent of costs the policy doesn't cover has the Roses facing bills well over $100,000.

That's why Matthew is the beneficiary of the 25th annual Oyster Roast sponsored by the Friendship Baptist Church and White Oak Equipment in Stafford County. The roast is Saturday at 3 p.m.

To date, the event has raised more than $550,000 for local folks facing serious medical and financial challenges.

Laurie and Donald Rose said they never thought they'd want or need to accept help paying the bills for their family.

"It's not the way we were raised, to look elsewhere for help," he said.

Matthew's treatments have included days and weeks in hospitals from Fredericksburg to Richmond, drugs and equipment that runs into the tens of thousands of dollars and have caused Laurie to be out of work for months at a stretch, so the couple is thankful for this help and other fund-raising events locally.

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WHAT: Benefit dinner featuring fried and steamed oysters, hot dogs, desserts and drinks. WHEN: Saturday at 3 p.m. WHERE: White Oak Equipment, 358 Kings Highway, State Route 3 east. FEE: No set cost, but all donations go to the Matthew Rose Cancer Fund to defray expenses from medical bills and medications. TO DONATE DIRECTLY: Send checks to Friendship Baptist Church, memo line "Matthew Rose," 410 Deacon Road, Fredericksburg, Va. 22405.