At age twenty-eight, Matt Cavallo, MPH was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Seemingly over night he went from a fully-functioning, healthy man to someone who was numb from the waist down and unable to walk. His story of being diagnosed and overcoming the physical and emotional challenges associated with having a chronic disease can be read in his memoir, The Dog Story: A Journey into a New Life with Multiple Sclerosis.
As result of his diagnosis, Matt has dedicated his life and career to healthcare and helping others with chronic illnesses. Matt has his Master’s degree in Public Health Administration and has worked in numerous clinical settings, as well as, with insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Matt’s dedication to healthcare led him to write his most recent book, 7 Steps to Living Well with a Chronic Illness. This self-help book provides insight, tools and techniques to guide those who need help managing their chronic illness care and bettering their quality of life. The steps outlined in the book are offered with compassion and understanding form a place of personal experience.
Matt also delivers motivational patient experience lectures, workshops and keynote speeches all over the country. Matt has moved hundreds if audiences with his engaging style that delivers laughter, tears and inspiration to go out and live your best life possible. Among others, Matt has spoken for National MS Society, Banner Health, Biogen Idec and Farmer’s Insurance.
Matt has also appeared in a MS yoga DVD that is free for MS patients with Baron Baptise. He is active with MS charities, and appeared in The Future of MS documentary for the MS Cure Fund with Ann Romney. His story has been featured in the Boston Globe, and he writes a popular blogs for the MSAA and his own website as resources for MS patients. Links to these videos are available in the ‘Resources’ page on this website.
Most importantly, however, Matt is the proud father of his two sons, Mason and Colby, the loving husband to his wife, Jocelyn, and the best friend to his dog, Teddy. Originally from the Boston suburbs, Matt currently works and lives with his family in Chandler, Arizona.
Matt Cavallo’s overnight transformation from a fully-functioning and healthy man, to someone who was numb from the waist down and unable to walk, eventually led to his Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis at age 28. The first thing he did was head to a bookstore to find help. Lots of technical manuals and poetic, reflective pieces caught his eye, but no in-the-moment patient account of a diagnosis. So he penned his own memoir, The Dog Story: A Journey Into a New Life with Multiple Sclerosis.
“About two hundred people are diagnosed with MS every week. Every single one of these people feels terrified, overwhelmed and alone. This book is intended to be a resource for the newly diagnosed so they realize they are in fact not even close to alone, and to teach families and friends what the disease does,” Cavallo said. “Those not directly affected by MS will find it a story about love, relationships and finding hope in a bad situation.”
Cavallo’s tell-all book captures his emotional pain when diagnosed with MS, and further chronicles his very intimate journey to regain his physical health and inner strength needed to fight the chronic illness. Since his diagnosis, Cavallo has learned more about x-rays, CAT Scans, MRI’s and spinal taps than he ever thought he’d know. But it’s the personal relationships that taught him the most about overcoming trauma to lead an ordinary – and miraculous – life. His dog Teddy became one of those life coaches.
“He is a daily reminder that I need to get up and be active no matter what. Even when I am tired or not feeling 100%, he is there to make sure that I start my day,” Cavallo said. “He doesn’t care about excuses or laziness, and he doesn’t give up until I fulfill my daily promise of walking him.”
As a result of his diagnosis, Cavallo has dedicated his life and career to healthcare and the fight against MS. He delivers motivational patient experience lectures all over the country, as well as inspiring organizational presentations for companies using his story as a platform. He recently finished his Master of Science in Health Care Informatics from Arizona State University, and works at a Neuroscience Clinic where he helped patients like himself every day before taking his current position training clinicians on how to use medical software to improve the patient experience. The debut author is donating a portion of the proceeds from his book to support MS research and charities.
“MS is a chronic illness with no cure, but being diagnosed with it is not a reason to stop living. Perhaps my biggest hope is that people will see me succeed despite my condition,” Cavallo said. “Then they will know that they, too, can succeed.”
Originally from the Boston suburbs, Matt currently works and lives with his wife and two sons in Chandler, Arizona.
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