Phoenix officer battling rare spinal cord tumor returns home to warm welcome

A Phoenix Police officer is back home on April 30, after spending months in the hospital for treatment of a tumor on his spinal cord.

Related: Loved ones collecting police patches for Phoenix Police officer with rare spinal tumor

We reported on Officer Matt Litman's cancer battle in March 2021. It was in mid-January when Litman felt there was something wrong. One day, he woke up with no mobility in his left arm. His wife, Stephanie, says he got an MRI, and that’s when doctors found a mass in his spinal cord.

Symptoms then continued to get worse.

"He woke up on a Friday morning, and within, like, 10 minutes, he wasn't able to walk anymore," said Stephanie.

Officer Litman was rushed to the hospital, and that’s when doctors discovered he has a grade 4 astrocytoma, an extremely rare tumor that’s usually found in the brain, and in people much older.

Loved ones showed up to welcome officer home

Dozens of people, including relatives, neighbors and coworkers showed up with signs, flags, and banners on April 30.

"We wanted to show Matt and his wife Stephanie and their family our support, and be there for them and let them know that we care," said neighbor Ron Weiss.

"Being in the condition he was in, everyday going for radiation and chemotherapy at Mayo Hospital and the battle just to get to this point, getting home has been extraordinary," said Officer Litman's father, Jeff Litman.

In all, Officer Litman spent 71 days away from his loved ones. The warm welcome on April 30 brought him tears of joy.

"To see how he appreciates everything in life, from the little things to the generosity. he's so humble of a kid that the outpouring is because of him," said Jeff.

Officer Litman went around thanking everyone, his wife, and their two little boys.

"It feels really good to be home that's for sure. Definitely feels good to be home," said Officer Litman.

Officer Litman is still in treatment, and is working on regaining movement and strength. Although it's been tough, he remains optimistic about the future.

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