02/08/2015 04:05 EST | Updated 04/10/2015 05:59 EDT

Matthew Schreindorfer, Leukemia Patient, Seeks $800K For Last-Ditch Treatment
The family of Matthew Schreindorfer, a 25-year-old Laval resident with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), is seeking nearly a million dollars to help pay for a last-ditch effort to save his life.

Schreindorfer first discovered he had cancer last summer, shortly after marrying high-school sweetheart KatiaLuciani in June 2014. He was 24.

"We were basically just starting our lives together as a married couple," Luciani said. 

He began experiencing symptoms upon his return from their honeymoon, initially attributed to a bug he could have picked up while on vacation. A month and a half later, he was diagnosed with ALL.

"It was such a shock to find out it was actually cancer," she said, adding that Schreindorfer had always been really active and rarely sick.

Sloan Kettering trial costs $675K U.S.

Since his summertime diagnosis, his lymphoma has rapidly progressed.

Luciani said her husband has received all the possible treatments available to someone with ALL in Canada. However, a clinical trial at New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center could potentially hold the key to his cancer's remission.

The trial has so far had a 90 per cent success rate in putting refractory ALL patients into remission, Luciani said. 

The problem is that the New York cancer centre requires a $675,000 U.S. deposit before enrolling a patient in the clinical trial.

"How the treatment works is that they take his white blood cells, they modify them genetically in a lab for about 10 days, and then in the meantime they need to probably give him chemotherapy to bring his cancer cells down — not to a remission level, but just to a stable level. And then they re-inject the cells into his body," Luciani said.

She said the $675,000 U.S. would cover most of her husband's medical costs associated with the clinical trial. However, an infection or any other emergency could drive their bills upwards.

$220K already raised

So far, their online fundraising campaign has raised $220,000. Luciani said friends and family members have also raised some additional funds. 

Schreindorfer was back in hospital last Wednesday with abdominal pains and a high fever, causing a delay in his journey to the American cancer centre.

"The main goal right now is to get him stable and then to be able to transport him to New York. [The timeline] is really just as soon as possible," Luciani said.