The Rider

July 16, 2010

Amaizin’ Matt Domestiques

Filed under: Rider Profiles — The Blog @ 6:01 AM

Matt Uday had a lot in common with Lance Armstrong – unfortunately.

The Michigan dentist had testicular cancer and was being treated by the same doctor who saved the life of the man who would go on to win the Tour de France a record seven times.

“We wrote to Pelotonia and told them about Matt and that it was his dream to meet Lance,” said Kristen McNamara, Matt’s sister, and the captain of the Amazin’ Matt Domestiques peloton.

Matt (L) and his son, Ethan, and wife, Megan, got to meet Lance before the start of Pelotonia 2009

Sure enough, Matt was one of the Pelotonia riders who met Lance before last year’s ride. It was a memorable moment for Matt, who had been battling cancer for almost a year at the time.

“It was such a positive experience for Matt,” Kristen said. “Lance gave Matt a pep talk and a boost and Matt expressed his gratitude to Lance. He’d read his books and because Lance was a success story, it gave him confidence.”

Unfortunately, Matt lost his battle a few months later in December, but not before inspiring his family, friends and colleagues with his courage and faith.

According to his father, Earl “Bud” Uday, Matt was: “The bravest and strongest man I have ever known. His positive attitude and faith in God sets a standard that has touched us all. From day one of his diagnosis, he had a mind set on victory. He said, ‘cancer may take my life but it will never beat me.’”

The Udays are a close family, one whose life revolves around each other – and preventing tooth decay. Bud, Matt and Kristen are all graduates of the University of Michigan’s dentistry program and for several years the three practiced together: father, son and daughter.

“We all lived within a few miles and worked together,” Kristen explained. “People would say, how can you stand each other that much, but we were always a tight-knit family and in retrospect it was a blessing that we worked together.”

Kristen and Matt, who were as close as a couple of molars

The biggest problem was who would Vicki – Bud’s wife and the mother of Matt and Kristen – go to for her dental checkups.

“She bounced around,” Kristen said. “She wanted to be the first patient for Matt and me.”

In 2006, Kristen’s husband, Jack, an aerospace engineer, accepted a job at Ohio State – in the heart of Buckeye territory and they moved to Central Ohio. Kristen now works for OSU as well, in oral pathology, which means she helps diagnose mouth and jaw cancer and refers her patients to The James.

“All our friends did give us a hard time about it,” Kristen said of the move from the land of Wolverines to Brutusville.

In October 2008, soon after Matt and his wife, Megan, had their first child, Matt was diagnosed with testicular cancer. And his battle began.

“Matt was always this positive, high-energy guy and it was such a shock,” Kristen said. “There was a lot of fear, but Matt dissipated it for everyone. He said, ‘I’ll be OK, I’ll fight this, I got it covered.’ He was the strength for everyone else.”

About a month before he passed away, Matt wrote the following on his blog: This has been a trying couple of weeks for us, particularly when we thought this round of chemo was going to be smooth sailing. This is what it is like to be living with cancer, and I continue to be grateful that I am living with cancer. You have to roll with the punches, take each day one at a time, and continue to be grateful that God is with us, as are so many of you that care about us and keep us in your prayers and close to your heart.

The Udays banded around Matt – and made Pelotonia 2009 a family event, with several members riding – and others, including Matt, serving as volunteers. This year Kristen and her parents and two of the employees of the Uday dental practice will ride.

The Udays during Pelotonia 2009: Kristen, Matt, Earl and Vicki

And, of course, they will ride in honor and memory of Matt.

Kristen and her parents will each ride the 100- mile route to Athens the first century ride for each of the three.

“It will be more challenging, that’s for sure,” Kristen said, adding the memory of Matt’s courage and strength will help them make it to Athens.

Kristen thinks of her brother often, especially when she sees his son, Ethan, who will be 2 soon and is a few months older than her son, Cale. Kristen and Matt  grew up together, went to dental school together, worked together, had babies within a few months of each other.

“Our lives were so intermingled, “ Kristen said. “And when Cale does something for the first time, I think that Ethan is doing the same thing … I’m so thrilled Matt got to experience the first year of his life … he loved the snow and was a skiing fanatic and I know he would have loved to teach his son to sled and ski.”

If you’d like to read more about Matt, here’s a link to his blog.

10 Things About Kristen…

Favorite ride

Pelotonia and Northern Michigan

Dream ride

France

Current Pelotonia bike

A Felt

Dream bike

I’m on it

Favorite movie

You’ve Got Mail

Favorite band/singer

Dave Mathews

Favorite TV show

Seinfeld

Favorite book

It’s Not About the Bike

Favorite athlete

Lance

Favorite post-ride meal

Grilled salmon

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1 Comment »

  1. Amaizin? Matt Domestiques…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

    Trackback by Personal Care 101 — July 16, 2010 @ 10:28 PM


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