Former WWE Tough Enough winner Matt Cappotelli is fighting for his life. The 38-year-old has been dealing with a brain tumor for a number of years, and recently posted pictures of his surgery which occurred in the summer. The surgery was mandated after doctors found a very large tumor in his brain. In 2005, the tumor was discovered after he won the third installment of Tough Enough, and was competing for Ohio Valley Wrestling.
Although the majority of the tumor was removed, Cappotelli was forced to cut his professional wrestling career short, and retire from the business. Cappotelli's former trainer, Al Snow, recalls the moment that he was forced to go to the hospital due to his symptoms. Snow told WDRB, "He begged me not to go. I remember him sobbing. He didn't want [the WWE opportunity] to be taken away from him again." However, Cappotelli admitted that complications could have been much more severe if he did not go that night.
In July, Cappotelli had more bad news to share following his surgery in June, revealing that he has a Grade 4 glioblastoma tumor, the deadliest form of brain cancer.
WDRB ran the story in the video above on Cappotelli's journey, stating that he is battling a form of cancer that has "never been defeated." The remaining 10 percent of the tumor that has not been removed is extremely sensitive, and deemed too dangerous to touch since it is so close to the brain stem. To make matters worse, the cancer is terminal, and doctors give a timeline of only five percent of patients surviving five years.
Family and friends of Cappotelli have formed the Team Capp campaign, and received over $30,000 in donations. In September, OVW held a benefit event, and raised over $6,000.
"It's times like this that you need to know who's in your corner," Cappotelli told the crowd after the event. "When I do get through this, just know I will be there for you."
To help with his therapy, Cappotelli is using an Optune, which is an FDA-approved device that helps with administering continuous therapy to the part of the brain where the tumor is located. Since it is recommended that this device is used at least 18 hours a day to receive optimal treatment, Cappotelli has to wear it often. According to Norton Cancer Institute Oncologist Dr. Renato LaRocca, "It basically prevents brain tumor cells from dividing, and when they do divide, they screw up the cell division process so the cell doesn't survive."