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Cancer patient's wish for the World Cup granted

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
Dec. 26, 2013 at 6:26 a.m.
Updated Dec. 27, 2013 at 6:27 a.m.

Matt Dorsett, 18, of Victoria, will attend the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil because of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which granted him and two of his family members an all-expenses-paid trip to see the famed soccer event that occurs every four years.

DID YOU KNOW?

Make-A-Wish operates in 47 countries.

Professional World Wrestling Entertainment wrestler John Cena has granted more than 400 wishes through Make-A-Wish.

The 20th FIFA World Cup will be June 12-July 13 in Brazil.

FIFA stands for Federation Internationale de Football Association.

The United States first appeared in the World Cup in 1930.

The best showing for the United States soccer team was in 1930, winning third place in the World Cup.

Only seven nations have won the World Cup.

Brazil has won five World Cups.

Sources: fifa.com; planetworldcup.com; wish.org

In the quiet of the living room, Matt Dorsett curls up next to Lucy, a small, mixed-breed, multicolored mutt that his mother, Blandine Dorsett, adopted two years ago from the pound.

A twinkling Christmas tree sits in the back corner; unwrapped presents remain on the tree skirt.

A day earlier, on Christmas morning, the Dorsett home was filled with family and friends celebrating the close of the year and preparing for the year to come.

And for Matt, 18, a senior at Victoria East High School, 2014 is packed with monumental events: graduation in May and college in August.

But in between that transition, Matt will leave the country for the first time to fly to Brazil in June to view two games of the FIFA World Cup in Rio de Janeiro.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime trip. You have to go to the World Cup," he said.

Matt's invitation to the World Cup was no accident.

About a year ago, while undergoing treatment at MD Anderson in Houston for a rare chromosomal cancer, Ewing's sarcoma, Matt was approached by representatives from the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Make-A-Wish is a nonprofit organization that funds grand experiences, or wishes, for children and teens with life-threatening illnesses.

Matt's wish was to attend the World Cup.

"They came here and interviewed him and he gave them his top two choices," Matt's mother, Dorsett said. "They gave me a call about six months ago and said that he got it."

Matt said his first choice was to attend the Super Bowl, but there was a five-year waiting list.

"I love soccer, and I would always watch with my brother, Clayton. So I thought the World Cup would be really fun to do," Matt said.

Make-A-Wish's package to Matt includes an all-expense-paid trip for three to Brazil with airfare, hotel and limousine transportation included. It also includes tickets to two games at the World Cup and $2,000 spending money.

Dorsett said her family is trying to figure out the expenses, even splitting costs with multiple family members, so all three of Matt's siblings can take the trip to Brazil.

"We're supposed to get the details of the trip soon, so we can figure out how to make that work," she said.

For now, Matt has elected to bring his mother and Clayton, who lives in Houston.

Matt said his cancer treatments have helped his healing, and he doesn't have any cancer in his body as of last month.

His hair is also starting to grow back, and he laughs when he looks at his bald-headed passport photo, which he took more than six months ago while undergoing cancer treatment.

"I'm excited for him; he's suffered a lot," Dorsett said. "You can't even put into words what Make-A-Wish is doing for him. It's remarkable how they do that for people and make them happy."

Matt agreed.

He said the organization that has forever changed his life and given him an experience to share with his family means more to him than he can express.

"They need more recognition for what they do," he said. "It's just awesome to get to do this."

When Matt graduates in May, he said he plans to attend college at Texas State University or Sam Houston State University. His plans are also on track to finish his education and complete other milestones in life such as getting married and having children.

But mainly, he wants to remain cancer-free.

"That's my No. 1," he said. "That's the only thing."

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