With a little help…

Walsall student given six months to live hopes to tour the world with help from fundraising friends.

21 year-old Matt Greenwood, who studied at Queen Mary’s grammar school in Walsall, should be in his fourth year at Oxford University. Instead he has had to abandon his studies after being diagnosed with terminal bone cancer in October 2016. Now friends and family are raising money to help him live his dream of travelling the world. Having smashed the original fundraising target of £10,000 in less than four hours more than £40,000 has now been raised and now the target is to raise £75,000.

Matt is being treated at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Birmingham and has endured two cycles of chemotherapy to fight the cancer which started in his hip but has now spread to his lungs. The treatment has not worked and doctors have now given him between six and nine months to live. A former rugby player and active rower at Oxford where he was vice captain of the St Edmund Hall Boat Club, Matt is doing all he can to live his life to the full.

He recently had his right leg amputated in a bid to improve his quality of life and get the chance to spend some of his final months outside hospital. With the help of a physio and the use of parallel bars he has now taken his first steps since the operation after more than 100 days in bed. There is a video of him doing this on YouTube; the link can also be found on his JustGiving page.

Matt said: “Previously I was very sporty, I rowed in Oxford and played rugby before that. I used to run, play squash, cycle, and get as much time outdoors as I could. One of my greatest passions was to travel as much as possible; I have been to Africa, China, and toured Europe. It breaks my heart to have to send out this message. What I ask of everyone is to cross all our fingers for a speedy recovery, and then make the absolute most of every single minute that I have left.

“The support of my friends and family is all that has got me through the last 15 weeks, and I am so grateful for everyone who has been there for me. I am not just going to lie here and let cancer win; I am going to travel and party and love, and get the most I can out of the remainder of my life.

“Seeing all the messages of support has been really touching. I am in awe of the love that people have and are willing to share when times are desperate. I can only thank everyone so much for their amazing support and generosity.”

Matt’s mum Michaela Greenwood added: “I just can’t thank everybody enough. I’m usually not stuck for words, but I’m so overwhelmed with it all. All the hard work going into the fundraising has been amazing. I also want to thank everybody for being there so much for Matt over the last few months; the amount of visiting all his friends have done, the cards, gifts, games of monopoly. I strongly think that you’ve all made so much difference to how Matt has coped, and I will always be grateful.”
On Sunday 20 November from 11am-6pm Matt’s college, St Edmund Hall, is holding a public ‘ergathon’ in the front quad organised by his fellow students. The goal is to row a total of one million metres (or 1,000km). Anybody is warmly encouraged to attend and row a kilometre for Matt.

The fundraising efforts will help to pay for his wheelchair, prosthetics and to cover the extra costs that come with travelling in his condition such as the need for a nurse or carer.

He has not yet made any firm travel plans due to concerns about whether airlines can accommodate him but hopes to visit Disneyland and tour European capitals including Rome and Athens. Closer to home he also hopes to go in a racing car, take a trip on a hot air balloon with his dad, do a skydive and learn to ride a bike again.
The fundraising effort was started on Sunday 13th November with a sponsored 6km walk along the river in Oxford led by the principal of St Edmund Hall, Professor Keith Gull CBE, FRS.

Professor Gull commented: “I am delighted by the support given to Matt Greenwood by students, alumni and friends at our college. This support and admiration for Matt has spread quickly to fellow students, athletes and friends in Oxford and around the world. Matt¹s predicament, his resolve, braveryand love of life have touched and inspired us. This young man deserves all that we can provide for him.”

Anybody wishing to support Matt’s fundraising efforts should go to: here More information about Sunday’s ergathon event can be found on Matt’s Facebook page