Our very own Swannies, Matt Masters (President) and Irish Kev (2022 Men’s Co-Captain), have begun their training for the London Marathon in April. Alongside their running efforts, they’re both working hard to raise money for their chosen charities: the British Heart Foundation and Orchid Male Cancer.
Matt and Kev share their reasons for choosing these charities:
Matt Masters – British heart foundation
I am running 2023 London marathon on behalf of the British Heart Foundation and have the privilege of fundraising for the cause.
Most people will know I am a runner, run regularly and have done long-distance running before but not all have heard my motivation.
After a number of serious knee injuries throughout my 20’s playing Australian Football, I battled serious mental struggles which peaked after my second ACL/knee reconstruction in 2016. As you can imagine, for a young person in their physical “prime” who was playing footy 2/3 days a week, cricket, beach, gym etc to not being able to
get off the couch for months, I hit serious lows. Depression and suicidal feelings were a constant and I would do anything to avoid starting each day. I had a mindset that my body was letting me down & I couldn’t live life how I wanted.
While running was (and remains) only a small part of my journey (quick plug for regular psychologist or equivalent services), it is something that has sat with me for years and helps me maintain my physical and mental health. In long-distance running I found a way to prove to myself that I was in control & whether it be physical or mental, I could achieve what I set my mind to.
In early 2022, a close friend of mine, a fit and healthy 28 year old was out for a Sunday morning run in an East London Park when he collapsed without warning. With the help of quick thinking passers-by who immediately called emergency services, within 10 minutes paramedics were on scene. This friend required two shocks to regularise his heartbeat, yet was still without oxygen for up to 15 minutes. He was subsequently unconscious for 24 hours with his condition remaining unclear. After waking, he underwent surgery and now lives with a defibrillator patch on his heart.
This friend had always been an active and outgoing person that was always the life of any gathering so this was something that completely shocked all those close to him. While he is incredibly lucky to be able to continue to life his life today, this experience is a reminder to all those close to him how quickly life can change.
Combining my love for running with such a cause was an easy decision and I am proud to support the BHF.
The BHF work to continue research and understand further about what causes heart conditions and disease, to save as many lives as possible. The BHF has helped halve the number of people dying from heart and circulatory disease in the UK but sadly every day hundreds of people lose their lives. It’s only thanks to support from people like us that the BHF can create new treatments and discover new cures.
Your encouragement is greatly appreciated, and if anyone wants to hear more on my mental health, my running or my training I would welcome the opportunity. I talk openly and freely to save others experiencing what I have – or worse as has occurred in my friendship group. Similarly, if you know good fundraising ideas let me know.
With love and thanks
irish kev – orchid male cancer
This year I’ve been lucky enough to get the opportunity to run in the London Marathon while supporting Orchid – Male Cancer. While I was looking for charities to support with my fundraising, I came across Orchid and really loved what they stand for.
They are a small organisation, raising funds and awareness for all types of male cancer. As soon as they had received my application, I got a call from the fundraising manager, who explained how crucial London Marathon entries are to the work they do for the year ahead.
Male cancer has always been something I’ve cared an awful lot about. In 2014, during my final exams in school, my father was diagnosed with Prostate cancer. My parents decided not to tell me until after I was finished my exams, just before we headed for ‘an operation’. It was only then that I realised what his operation was for. Until that point in my life, I don’t think I had truly appreciated the effect that cancer can have on families. It was always something I knew affected friends’ families, and distant relatives, but never my own. Fortunately, my dad came out the other side of his operation, and continues to get regular checkups with his GP ever since. Sadly, not everyone does come out the other side with male cancer, and often only notice when it’s too late. Since my dad’s diagnosis, I’ve been so much more vigilant of the effects of male cancer, and about the need to raise awareness among my age group, on the importance of keeping a closer eye on your body.
In the last couple of years, there’s been other relatives and friends of family battling through male cancer, and it’s the work of charities like Orchid Cancer that make it all that bit easier, from peer support for cancer patients, to raising awareness in local schools and organizations. Seeing the incredible work they do, helping keep that momentum going by raising funds, and running for a few hours is really the least I can do.
Any donations would be going to a truly great cause. The London marathon is one of Orchid’s biggest opportunities to fundraise for the rest of the year, and I feel privileged to be a part of their team.
Thanks a mill for taking the time to read!
You can support Matt and Kev by donating to their Just Giving pages (Matt | Kev) or buying raffle tickets at our upcoming Hottest 100 Party (see our social events page for more details). ❤️