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A Super Bowl surprise for Cleveland's Matt Barry

Matt Barry got a message from his mother to get a nice shirt and pants ready for a special Tuesday afternoon in Berea.

"Usually I listen to her," Matt said. "It's worked out well for 20 years."

What happened when Matt arrived at the Browns Training Facility left him at a loss for words.

As he walked up the steps to the second floor, he was greeted by Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam. They introduced themselves, welcomed him and quickly unveiled the real reason why he was told to dress up.

Courtesy of the Cleveland Browns and A Special Wish Foundation, Matt was heading to Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco.

"I'm thrilled. I'm very excited," said Matt, who was flanked by his parents, Lissa and Dean. "I wish the Browns were playing in it, but there's always next year."

Matt's optimism goes well beyond his Browns fandom. It's guided him through a battle with pediatric cancer that remains ongoing, but hasn't stopped him from living his life and furthering his education at Denison University.

As Lissa described it, Matt is currently in the "maintenance phase" of his chemotherapy treatment. One year after receiving weekly treatments at the University Hospitals Angie Fowler Adolescent & Young Cancer Institute, Barry takes a pill nightly. The side effects make mornings tough, but he powers through it and continues to go to class.

"I think it is phenomenal," said Lissa, tearing up as she reflected on Matt's journey. "I think if it was me, I might have taken another year off and not done this. But he does. He goes to class and does a good job and I just think I'm very proud of him."

Dean proudly mentioned the 2.7 grade point average Matt posted during the thick of his treatment. "A cancer 4.0," Dean called it.

Since Matt was diagnosed, he's undergone 42 blood transfusions and spent more than 60 nights in the hospital.

His positive spirit, which was on full display Tuesday, hasn't wavered one bit.

"Smile and laugh as much as you can," Matt said. "Eat good food when you can. Just trust the people around you and live your life."

The nurses and doctors at UH's Angie Fowler Adolescent & Young Cancer Institute made that last part easy on Barry and his family. At other hospitals, Matt would have been treated with other, cancer-afflicted adults because of his age. At UH, Matt was placed in a setting conducive to the pediatric cancer he's bent on defeating once and for all.

"It's a wonderful team effort to make sure Matt succeeds and survives this as well and gets his life back as soon as possible. They've done a magnificent job," Lissa said. "They're there when we need them, they're a phone call away whenever anything happens. They just care so much. It's wonderful to have them."

Matt's wish came together through a partnership between the Browns and A Special Wish Foundation, the lone Cleveland-based wish-granting organization. Co-Founder Jason Beudert was by Matt's side when he learned he was San Francisco-bound.

A moment like Tuesday's never gets old for Beudert and the Browns.

"Right now, this is what Cleveland's all about. Cleveland's a very giving city," Beudert said. "We're so proud to be partners with great organizations throughout the city and the Browns are one of them. For us to come together on this kind of wish and make this happen for this boy, there are no words."

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