Matt Waters

Matt's fundraiser for ARC (Axminster)

Fundraising for ARC (Axminster)
raised of £1,500 target
Seaton Park Run , 15 June 2024
ARC (Axminster)

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1127001


On June 15th I'll be walking the 5km course of Seaton parkrun alongside a host of people running in the weekly event. Nothing noteworthy about this, you might think. Well, this will be the longest walk I've attempted since losing both my legs to sepsis in November 22'. Please take a moment to read the story below and perhaps consider donating to ARC

November 2022, and all is good in my world. We return from a family holiday to Greece in great spirits. We are tanned, relaxed and super healthy. On Saturday morn, I take myself off with the dog for the standard 5km run through the woods. A chance to run the stiffness of yesterday’s travel out of my legs. On Sunday I start to feel a little under the weather. I have some shivers running through my body and I take myself off to bed with some Ibuprofen. On Monday I feel rough. I send a note to work letting them know that I will not be travelling from Devon to London. I’m heading instead for the couch with lots of water and more Ibuprofen. My temperature is normal, but I feel like ‘the flu’ has a hold of me, good and proper. On Tuesday morning my wife, Ali, is starting to get quite concerned. I feel awful and my extremities, ears and lips, are starting to turn blue. I’m tanned after the trip to Greece and the change in my complexion hasn’t been so easy to see. Ali calls for an ambulance. On arrival the crew check my vitals and immediately pop me in the van. My oxygen stats are dangerously low and my blood pressure is unrecordable.

I figure the hospital will give me some tablets and turn me around pretty quickly, but initial conversations aren’t going that way. They are cutting off my shirt and shorts and talking about intubation. One hour later and I’m in a medically induced coma.

Unbeknown to me, my spleen has become compromised at some point in recent history and my body isn’t able to fight off the Pneumonia that I’d, probably, picked up at the airport or on the plane home. This pneumonia had transitioned into full blown Strep Pneumococcal sepsis and is currently laying waste to my body. My blood is simultaneously hemorrhaging from, and firing clots around, my system. Extremities are getting compromised as my blood supply fails. Parts of my body are dying as necrosis sets in. My internal organs are taking a shoeing of unimaginable proportions. Ultimately, I’ll lose both my legs below the knee, both index fingers and part of my left ear (I’m lucky, it looked a lot worse at one point). My kidneys are shredded, and I’ll need dialysis for the remainder of my life or until a transplant can be arranged. I’ve suffered a heart attack and my liver suffers an ‘acute injury’. I’m in the medically induced coma for 40 days. I’m in intensive care for 60. I’m effectively dead on 3 separate occasions. I leave hospital 70 days after being admitted. I went in with a fighting weight of 82kg and, dripping wet, I’m now 50kg. I don’t have anything in the way of a muscle left on my body. The NHS have done an amazing job keeping me alive.

The love of my extraordinary family; Ali, brother Mike, mum and my girls, plus an amazing group of friends, keep me going as I try to figure out what has gone on and how I even start to put things back together. The NHS carry on their amazing work. Military duo Simon Burgess and Mick Hart, both of whom used to work with injured servicemen out of Headley Court, come on board to help with my rehabilitation and we, ever so slowly, attempt to put my broken body back together. The body is bad, but the mind! Jeez, the mind is a big problem. I’ve had a blessed life up to this point. I’ve never known depression or despair. Well, both are now permanent residents in my brain. The world is black, so black. Black, and achingly painful, and I can’t make sense of any of it. Another savior steps forward. Catherine Davies of ARC agrees to be my trauma counsellor. Catherine will slowly talk me down from the ‘edge’. She’ll give me a methodology for existing in this changed world, whilst simultaneously managing the outpouring of grief for the life that I’ve lost and helping me to process the trauma I’ve been through. What a gift to find such support at a time when it is needed most and where the stakes are so high.

After 12, long, months my stumps are healed enough to have prosthetics fitted and I can again begin to learn to walk. It’s not easy. Each step hurts as your stumps gain conditioning. There is no short cut. But, the alternative is being confined to a chair and that isn’t very palatable, for me. So, on we go with the help of Sean & Melissa of the Exeter Mobility Centre. Simon and Mick keep training my body and Catherine keeps training my mind.

All this brings us to here and the Seaton parkrun on the 15th. We are still a long way from the end of this journey, we still have a long way to go, ‘but my look at how far we have come’. Now feels like a good time to raise money for ARC, so that they can continue to help other people who, quite often, for no other reason than the application of bad luck, find themselves at the bottom of a deep dark well of despair and depression. To this end I’m going to attempt the parkrun (walk) on Saturday June 15th. 5km is something which would have taken around 25mins prior to sepsis showing up. The time will be considerably slower and the effort greatly increased. If you can spare a few pounds for this wonderful charity, then please do. They, quite literally, save lives.



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About the charity

ARC (Axminster)

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1127001
Arc provides easily accessible, flexible, local counselling and psychotherapy at the heart of the community. The service supports the personal recovery of local patients registered at Axminster Medical Practice, who are seeking help through times of profound change, trauma and loss.

Donation summary

Total raised
+ £3,459.75 Gift Aid
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Offline donations

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