‘I’ll risk my life to say thank you’
Last updated at 12:38, Friday, 28 September 2012
A disabled Workington man is willing to risk his life to raise money for the hospital looking after his wife.
Serial fund-raiser Keith Matthews, 69, of Cedar Court, has been told by doctors he can no longer trek up mountains to raise money for charity because it would put too much stress on his body and could kill him.
But he is determined to say thank you to the intensive care unit at Whitehaven’s West Cumberland Hospital, where his wife Yvonne, 69, is recovering from a severe heart attack.
Mr Matthews is well-known in the area for his fund-raising exploits over the last 15 years and raised thousands of pounds for charity.
His speciality is climbing mountains – helped by a team of volunteers.
But he said: “I have been told by doctors that I cannot try any more mountains because my health is getting worse and I am slowing down an awful lot.
“But if that’s what it takes I will put my body at risk and climb Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland and that is going against my doctor’s and my family’s wishes.
“That is how desperate I am to help the hospital and I don’t care what anyone says, I owe them something that I can never repay.
“If it means me being laid up in bed for the rest of my life then so be it.”
Mr Matthews has been in a wheelchair for 30 years. He injured his spine after becoming trapped under a car and then developed arachnoiditis, a chronic disease which causes swelling to a membrane around nerves of the spinal cord and has left him in pain 24 hours a day.
The cash he raises will pay for communication equipment for patients unable to talk.
He has chosen that item because Mrs Matthews has had a tracheotomy which has made it difficult for her to talk and communicate and her medication makes it difficult for her to write clearly.
Mr Matthews said: “She is getting very frustrated not being able to speak and if we can get just two of these machines it would be such a help because patients will be able to communicate with their family – which is a big part of healing.
“I wouldn’t want any family to go through this because it is heart breaking and so upsetting.”
He is hoping to raise funds through donations from schools, businesses and organisations and plans to approach Workington Town and Whitehaven rugby league clubs to play a friendly to raise funds.
The money will be split between the equipment for the hospital unit and the Meningitis Trust.
Mr Matthews will do the fund-raising with his granddaughter Tanya Stobbart, 22, of Windsor Road, who was treated in the intensive care unit five years ago for meningitis.
He added: “I would like the whole of the community of West Cumbria to raise this money for the Meningitis Trust and for the hospital so other families don’t have to cope with what we have.
“I cannot praise the staff at the hospital enough, they have been absolutely fantastic.”
First published at 11:56, Friday, 28 September 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
Have your say
Hey Keith if you`re reading this I hope you`ll consider what I`m going to say. Your intentions although admirable are too risky. If you climb against medical advice & then end up in hospital yourself it will cost time & money to the hospital you`re trying to help. Plus, if you are hospitalized who is then going to care for Yvonne? Fund raise by all means, but consider doing something on flat ground. No one will think any the less of you. Good luck & wishing Yvonne a speedy recovery.
Make your comment
- You look like that man off the TV!
- Farmer keeps 260ft turbine bid in motion with appeal (1 comment)
- Workington arson victim fears mistaken identity
- June 11 launch for West Cumbria flood defences
- Workington store closing
- Fish factory axes 40 jobs after loss of key contract
- Wedding guest left for dead after Workington hit and run
- Don't forget to pick up next week's Times & Star!
- Obituary - Richard Wimpress, of Cockermouth
- Herdwick given EU protected status