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Meet Catalina "Catcat"

Hi everyone, my name is Catalina Yve Matugas, but I go by Catcat. I’m 4 years old and I love to sing, dance, pose for pictures and go to church! I have so many friends in Hawaii, where I lived iwith my parents and my baby brother Kai. My favorite things to do there were going to the beach and going to the park with my family. One day while my mom was putting sunscreen on, she noticed a lump on my left leg. I thought it was a golfball since me and my dad just went to play golf that week. My mommy contacted my pediatrician right away to have it checked and he set up a whole team to take care of me. It was a very confusing moment to me because I couldn’t understand why my mom and dad were crying all the time, but what I did understand is that the golfball on my leg was causing trouble and growing fast as time passed. Finally, on July 7, 2023 I was diagnosed with Alveoar Rhabdomyosarcoma. I was sad we had to fly to Seattle because I was

being transferred to Seattle Children’s Hospital, which meant having to say goodbye to the friends I had made in Hawai’i. As I hugged them farewell I promised I’d be back when I’m all better and strong! I don’t like goodbyes.

When we got to Seattle everything was happening so fast. I was so scared because many strangers where checking my golfball and most of the times I was being poked with needles. This makes me feel angry and upset! One night while me, my mom, dad and Kai were doing s’mores, mommy hugged me and talked to me about what was going on. she explained that what I had in my leg was not a golfball but a bunch of sick cells gathered together to create a bump. Daddy had to take over because mommy started crying. I started crying too when daddy told me I would lose my hair. I love my hair! But I know it will grow back , my daddy said so. I finally understood that none of this is my fault! This is a battle I have to win and the only way to win is to fight the sick cells. Trips to the hospital still make me scared but I feel better now that I know what’s going on around me. The staff always reassures me and helps me when I find it very hard to do what they ask me. I have a very strong personality that’s why, my grandma says, I'm like a sour patch candy: sour on the outside but the sweetest on the inside." As me and my family are going through this fight together I noticed how the members of our 'family' got bigger in number because so many foundations like the Northwest Sarcoma Foundation, support groups, child life, nurses, doctors and many more are willing to help and give support. This makes us feel that we are not alone in this; so I thank all of you for all that you do! Thank you for being part of my big family. To all those who, like me are fighting this battle, be strong and be brave. There will be hard times where you’ll be sad, angry and discouraged and that’s okay. But you have to know that there are so many people around you that are there for you to make it better. With that said, even though there will be bad days, there will also be good ones and may the good ones be more and more.

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