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Despite Losing Battle To Cancer, Raleigh Teen Continues To Inspire Others

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RALEIGH — A Raleigh teenager died of a rare form of cancer last week. Jodie Matthews, 18, faced his illness with strength and courage, refused to give up on life and challenged others to do the same.

Dr. Charles Matthews is a proud father. He says he is proud of how his son, Jodie, lived and proud of how he died.

"I think he handled his illness better than I ever saw anyone handle anything," he says.

Jodie's mother, Patricia Donohue, is inspired by her son.

"I'm extremely proud of him. I think the main message that Jodie wanted all of us to remember was to live our lives as fully as we can," she says.

When Matthews was approached by theMake-A-Wish Foundation, he chose not take a wish for himself. Instead, he used the money to launch a campaign about hope for young people facing serious illnesses.

"There is hope. I've been there, and done it. It can be done," he said in a January interview.

Matthews' best friend, Tyson Stahl, remembers the day he found out Jodie had cancer. Stahl says Matthews is a role model Even when he was sick, he wrestled, played in a band and graduated from high school.

"Anybody that knew him knows what a tragic loss it is, because he's just one of those guys that you wish more people were like him," he says.

Matthews' father says his son taught him a lesson about courage.

"Anytime I'm in distress, I'll just say, 'You know something, I'm Jodie's dad, and I can do anything,' if he can do that, I can do anything," he says.

A memorial service will be held for Matthews on Saturday at the Longview Center in Raleigh. The family is asking that, in lieu of flowers, people make donations to the Broughton High School wrestling team.