Matthew Clark

The Travelling Willberry's for Hannah's Willberry Wonder Pony Charity

Fundraising for Hannah's Willberry Wonder Pony Charity
£2,530
raised of £10,000 target
by 47 supporters
Charity Cycle tour, 1 July 2024
We fund bone cancer research & grant wishes to seriously ill people #makingmemories

Story

My name is Matt and over the next few months you will hopefully get to know more about me, as my family and I look to raise awareness and funds for the phenomenal charity, Hannah's Willberry Wonder Pony.

So who am I?

Well as I have already said, I am Matt… Just Matt. I am 33 years old and live with my wife, Lizzie in a small village in Somerset. Lizzie is a keen eventer and I enjoy cycling and golf in my spare time. Things are very normal and we lead pretty normal lives. That wasn’t the case nearly 15 years ago.

In the summer of 2009, after moving to Manchester to study Business at University, I was, by chance, diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. Osteosarcoma is a rare childhood bone cancer that is extremely aggressive, with brutal and particularly invasive treatment. I had not appreciated quite how challenging it was going to be, but after my first round of chemotherapy in October 2009, I found out first-hand.

I am incredibly fortunate to be alive. I owe my life to a series of fortunate events, some incredibly talented individuals and my family, who supported me each day. Yes, I have been left with the scars of the treatment. I now have a prosthetic in my leg and will never run or play contact sport again. My body feels the lasting effects of chemotherapy, but I am still alive, and for that, I am and always will be thankful (more than words could ever explain). But I know that for Osteosarcoma patients this outcome is often not the case. Too many individuals suffer relapse (mainly within 5 years of first treatment) and survival rates can be as low as 25%, this is not good enough. Should you wish to read my full story, then please click the following link: https://www.willberrywonderpony.org/blogs/news/matts-story

In 2015 I found out about Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony Charity (HWWPC).

The charity was started by Hannah Francis, following her diagnosis of Osteosarcoma in 2015. I would recommend everyone to read Hannah’s story (available via the link below), which showcases her incredible strength during her battle with the disease and resonated with me at a very deep level.

https://www.willberrywonderpony.org/pages/hannahs-story

Devastatingly, Hannah passed away on the 1st August 2016 at just 18 years old, 15 months after her diagnosis and treatment had started. Her powerful legacy lives on through her charity. Hannah was determined to keep #kickingcancersbutt. As a result, she set up Willberry’s Research to fund scientific research into Osteosarcoma to ensure no young person has to go through the same pain and trauma of treatment that she and her family faced. Her charity has already funded seven projects to try and find alternate and kinder ways to treat this horrendous condition.

In addition, Hannah was astounded by the kindness and generosity of so many in the equestrian world during her treatment, the kind offers gave her a chance to smile during her treatment, and something to look forward to, outside the four-white hospital walls. Hannah wanted to pass on this magic, so she set up Willberry's Wishes. To date, her charity has granted almost 100 equestrian-related experiences to seriously ill people and their families.

Over the last few months, I have had the privilege of meeting Rachel and James (Hannah’s parents), and her grandmother, June, as well as the other fantastic trustees and I have been humbled by the power of Hannah's legacy. I floated the idea of a charity cycle to them and it was met with resounding support, and they will be with us every step of the way, providing support as and when required.

The ride – The Travelling Willberrys

No, not the band, but instead the charity’s mascot. The aim is to take Willberry on tour. Over 13 days, we will transport Willberry around the length and breadth of the UK, raising funds and awareness as we go. Willberry will be stopping at some of the main equestrian eventing sites in the UK; starting at Badminton, moving on to Blair Castle, back down to Burghley, across to Blenheim and then finally finishing at The Hannah Francis One Day Event, held at Southfield House, home of Hannah’s pony club, and run in aid of her charity. The distance of this journey? Over 1,100 miles...

Given my disability, the ride is extremely challenging, in that most of the work will be undertaken through my one good leg, with the other largely redundant and just coming along for the free ride, and the marketing angle!

It would be wonderful if you could get behind this amazing charity and anything you can spare will go such a long way to continue to raise funds for life-saving treatment which may, in time prove invaluable in making Osteosarcoma survival rates higher, and the treatment to get there all the more palatable.

I thank you for taking the time to read this post, and I thank you in advance for your generosity.

About the charity

The Charity was established by talented horse rider, Hannah Francis, following her diagnosis with the aggressive form of bone cancer, osteosarcoma. People all over the world followed Hannah's story which she told through her mascot, Willberry. Tragically Hannah passed away at just 18 years old.

Donation summary

Total raised
£2,530.00
+ £562.50 Gift Aid
Online donations
£2,530.00
Offline donations
£0.00

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