Steamboat’s Dr. Dudley takes leave to be with ill son
April 18, 2013
Steamboat Springs — A well-known and accomplished physician in Steamboat Springs has taken a leave from his practice to be with his son, a fellow doctor who is receiving treatment for cancer in Seattle.
Dr. Jim Dudley said Wednesday that his son, Dr. Matt Dudley, 37, was diagnosed 34 days ago with acute myelogenous leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Jim Dudley, a partner at Steamboat Medical Group, left Steamboat to be with his son just days after learning about the diagnosis.
Matt Dudley has an aggressive form of cancer, Jim Dudley said, but the family remains optimistic and is taking it one day at a time.
"That's all you can do," Jim Dudley said.
Matt Dudley grew up in Steamboat and graduated from Steamboat Springs High School in 1993. He followed in his father's footsteps and practices medicine in Anchorage, Alaska. He is married to Brooke Dudley and they have two children, Liam, 5, and Finn, 3.
When he found out about the diagnoses, Jim Dudley said his first thought was to quit medicine so he could be with his oldest son.
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"My partners were awesome in saying, 'Be gone, and do what you have to do,'" Dudley said.
Now he is hoping to return to Steamboat Medical Group, where he has practiced medicine for almost 33 years.
When Jim Dudley received the Health Care Professional of the Year award in 2010, Matt Dudley wrote a letter that was read at the awards ceremony.
Matt said his father never pushed him to become a doctor, but after watching the way his father helped people, he could see no other fulfilling path.
"As you know, I'm extremely proud to have you as my father, mentor, role model and friend," he wrote. "I use the word path because I couldn't follow in your footsteps. They're too big to fill."
Matt Dudley is undergoing chemotherapy at the University of Washington Medical Center and eventually will need a bone marrow transplant.
Jim Dudley said he hopes one of his son's two younger brothers will be a match. The brothers, Mark and Luke Dudley, also were raised in Steamboat and still live here.
Mark Dudley said he talks to his brother every other day and is going to visit him in a week.
"There has been a lot of support around town," Mark Dudley said.
Luke Dudley said he is helping organize two events over the first weekend in May where people can sign up for the bone marrow registry. To join the registry, a person needs to have his or her mouth swabbed. They will be contacted later if someone needs their bone marrow.
The first marrow registry drive will be from noon to 6 p.m. May 4 at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. A reception for Matt Dudley will be from 5 to 10 p.m.
The second event will be a seven-on-seven soccer tournament May 5 at the high school. More information about the events will be available at a later date.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com