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Haworth man who cheated death runs race
5:00pm Thursday 24th October 2013 in News
A man who cheated death is raising money for research into the disease that almost killed him.
Matthew Walton was put on a life support machine and spent a week in intensive care after contracting septicaemia, the blood poisoning form of meningitis.
Now, fully recovered, 22-year-old Matthew has taken part in the Great North Run to boost the coffers of the Meningitis Research Foundation.
He was joined in the half marathon by his brother, Shane, 27, and together they coined in about £1,200.
Now they and third sibling, 24-year-old Jason, who had to pull out of the run due to injury, are planning further activities to raise funds and awareness of the condition.
This week their mum, Debbie Bowdin, spoke of how the family almost lost Matthew, who works as a groundsman at STRI in Harden.
“He was not expected to pull through – he was very seriously ill,” said Miss Bowdin, 46, from Long Lee.
“We tried to keep positive but it didn’t look good. The medical team said they’d done everything they could. Matthew spent about 12 days in hospital in total. Now he is absolutely fine and living life to the full.”
Matthew – who lives at Haworth – initially went to Airedale Hospital when he fell ill last July, but he was transferred to Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) as his condition deteriorated.
He said he had no idea at first how ill he was.
“I was up all night being sick but I didn’t think it was anything serious,” he told us.
“There was some swelling beneath my chin and when my mum saw me, she said I should go to hospital.
“I’d always been quite active – I went to the gym three times a week – so this came totally out of the blue.”
Miss Bowdin said her son’s illness had worsened at an alarming rate.
“It all happened very quickly,” she said.
“At first he just felt unwell with what seemed to be flu, then within no time he was seriously ill and on a machine. We couldn’t believe how suddenly things developed.
“I would like to say a huge thank-you to everyone at BRI. Without them, things would have turned out very differently.”
Miss Bowdin said she was very proud of both Matthew’s and builder Shane’s efforts in the Great North Run, which they completed in two hours eight minutes.
“It was very emotional and a brilliant achievement,” she added. “Thank you to everyone who sponsored them.”
Chris Head, of the Meningitis Research Foundation, said: “We are extremely grateful to Matthew and Shane. The family knows better than anyone how this disease affects people all ages and how quickly it strikes, so every penny raised from their efforts will make a huge difference and enable us to continue our work.”
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