Harry inspires Matt to marathon double
PARAMEDIC Matt Turvey is to run two marathons on back-to-back weekends after being inspired by the courage of a five-year-old diabetic boy.
The 36-year-old, from Baddeley Green, has set himself a target of raising £2,000 for the charity Diabetes UK.
And among those who plan to cheer him on as he completes the challenge are friend Mick Quick and his young son Harry.
Harry is in the same class as Matt's five-year-old daughter Molly at St. Luke's CE Primary School, in Endon, and he was diagnosed with type one diabetes two years ago.
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Now Matt wants to help other youngsters like him by running the Virgin London Marathon on April 21 and then taking on the Greater Manchester Marathon seven days later.
He said: "I've run marathons before, but never two so close to each other. The previous ones have been three years apart.
"I'm trying to do long runs as part of my training. But sometimes I have to fit the training round my work shifts, so I could be running before 10pm or after 3am."
Matt works for West Midlands Ambulance Service and often comes across diabetic-related emergencies, although most don't involve diabetic children.
Mick, from Brown Edge, also used to work as a paramedic.
The 47-year-old said: "When I heard that Matt was planning to do a marathon, I asked him if he would do it for the charity. He said it was a great idea.
"I think what he's doing is absolutely fantastic. Harry is also excited about it.
"I'm hoping Harry will be able to go and watch, but it depends on how he's doing on the day.
"You don't realise until your child is taken ill just how many other children there are with type one diabetes – there are 225 children in Stoke-on-Trent.
"We're getting very good support from the child diabetes team and there are also family clubs.
"But the more charities like Diabetes UK can do to research a cure, the better."
Matt's fund-raising got off to a flying start with an event on Friday night at The Power League in Trentham Lakes.
Dozens of friends, relatives and well-wishers went along to enjoy a disco, live music and a raffle, with prizes including a signed Stoke City shirt and a signed Port Vale football.
The bulk of the money will come from sponsorship as Matt takes on the double marathons.
Friend Gav Johnson also runs and took part in the Manchester event with Matt last year.
The 35-year-old, from Wolstanton, said: "Matt is always looking for another project. He's a seasoned marathon runner and my only tip for him would be to carry on with the training. When you get to the 23-mile point, it can break you."
Sheila Stockley, from Endon, has a nine-year-old grandson at St Luke's Primary and is a diabetic herself.
The 61-year-old said: "I don't know Matt well, but I think what he's doing is brilliant."
People can support Matt by visiting www.justgiving.com/MrTurvey.