A teenager from Leeds is taking on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge with three friends to raise money for Make A Wish UK and the Great North Children’s Hospital, in Newcastle, which helped him when he was seriously ill.
Matthew Bradley, now 18, contracted a virus when he was five which damaged the lining of his large intestine. He needed 20 operations and has spent more than five months in hospital.
“In 2015 I was referred to the Great Northern Children’s Hospital, where I had 20 operations – three of which were long open surgeries – and I spent more than 150 days over the course of several years on Ward 9 till finally on Halloween 2018 I was finally discharged and fortunately haven’t needed to go back,” recalls Matthew.
“Over the course of my time on Ward 9 the staff were so lovely, nothing was ever too much trouble, they really cared not just about their medical job but also about all the patients there.
“On my 16th birthday they decorated my room and although I couldn’t eat it, my family and staff had a cake to celebrate.
“Also, during the time when I was constantly in and out of hospital, I was lucky enough to have a ‘Make a Wish’ where I got to meet YouTubers Dan and Phil and fly an (aeroplane) simulator. This was particularly incredible as it combined both my passion for aviation and meeting my favourite YouTubers.
“Although that experience was only a few days out of normal life, the impact has lasted forever, just a short glimpse of something so positive and enjoyable can make the world of difference when you are back in the day to day slog of fighting your illness.
“One of the best things about it, is the child’s imagination, for example if a child wishes to go to the moon they will try their best to give the child that experience, the only limit is the child’s imagination and giving them a day they will cherish forever.”
Matthew says he was “more or less recovered to the best I can hope for” and feels up to conquering such a physical challenge as the Three Peaks.
“The day we have picked to complete the challenge is sort of symbolic in the sense that May 31 represents five years to the day since my first major operation in Newcastle.
“I am trying to raise money and awareness for these two great causes, in the hope that one day others will have the same life-changing experience and perhaps be able to do something like this themselves.”
Matthew Bradley and three friends will attempt to climb Yorkshire’s Three Peaks on May 31. They are raising money for Ward 9 at the Great Northern Children’s Hospital and for Make A Wish.
You can support Matthew’s fundraising efforts at /www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/matthew-bradley-2021
To find out more about how wishes can help, visit make-a-wish.org.uk or follow the charity on social media @makeawishuk