A COURAGEOUS Nelson man who spent last year battling cancer is taking to the skies for a charity skydive.
Inspirational Matthew Guirdham was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last year, at the age of 20.
After three months and three biopsies, during which time his weight plummeted from 13 stone to six, he was finally able to start treatment in last June.
Six months of chemotherapy and three weeks of radiotherapy ensued, before he was given the all-clear in January this year.
He was treated at the Christie Hospital in Manchester, and to show his appreciation for all their support, he is trying to raise as much money as possible for the hospital by daring to jump out of a plane on Sunday, August 19th.
“It’s my way of saying thank you,” said Matthew, who now lives in Back Harry Street, Barrowford.
“I’m not fit enough to do a run or a cycle, so I thought I’d do this.
“It’s not something I’ve ever thought about doing, but I can’t wait for it.
“I started having symptoms in February but I wasn’t fully diagnosed until June.
“The cancer isn’t in every part of you, so it’s not easy to locate. I knew it was there though, because I had all the symptoms you could possibly have.
“At first, they thought it was a different form, and that it was most likely terminal.
“I went to see a different doctor in Blackburn, though, and he re-diagnosed me, which meant I could then start my treatment.”
Matthew said that, by this stage, he was really ill, and just wanted to do anything to try and get better,
“I was transferred to Christie’s, where I had to have a scan every day for a week-and-a-half.
“The results of the tests determined how much chemotherapy and radiotherapy I would need. Because of how ill I was, the chemotherapy immediately started making me feel better.
“It was only towards the end of the six months that it started to make me ill, when my body had had enough.
“I’m totally fine now, though, and I’m slowly getting back to normal.”
Despite undergoing the energy-sapping treatment for more than six months, Matthew still managed to attend his second year studying quantity surveying at Salford University.
He came out with a First, and has just been given a job at local construction firm Barnfield.
“It’s been really good to get the job. I’m taking a year out of university while I work here, and then I’ll see how I feel after that.”
To sponsor Matthew for his skydive, visit www.justgiving.com/matthewguirdham