Remarkable feat for Matthew

WALKING from Ipswich to Felixstowe would be a tough feat for anyone but for one Ipswich teenager with cystic fibrosis it was a massive challenge.Matthew Shapland is 14-years old and has always wanted to be in a football team but was never picked because the genetic lung disease has led to him being extremely small for his age.

WALKING from Ipswich to Felixstowe would be a tough feat for anyone but for one Ipswich teenager with cystic fibrosis it was a massive challenge.

Matthew Shapland is 14-years old and has always wanted to be in a football team but was never picked because the genetic lung disease has led to him being extremely small for his age.

However, when a new under 15s team, called Nacton Athletics, started in his area he was signed up and soon became a motivated player.

So when the team decided to do a sponsored walk from Ipswich to Felixstowe to raise funds for the club naturally Matthew, of Avondale Road, Ipswich, wanted to join in.

His dad, Stephen Shapland, said: “At the time we were having really bad weather and I told him I didn't think it would be a good idea for him to attempt the walk in those conditions.

“But by the time the day of the walk came around it was a bit brighter so we let him do it.

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“Matthew is one of those people who just gets on with life. He knows all about his illness but just wants to give everything a go and will attempt anything.

“At the moment his disease affects his day-to-day life very little but we know this might change. Some days he struggles a bit but he always gets on with what he has to do anyway.

“Recently he was asked to do a school project on something and he took the opportunity to teach his classmates about the illness so they have a wider understanding of it too.

“We are really proud of him for taking part in the walk though and he raised around £70 just by himself.”

The family knows all too well how the disease can affect lives as Matthew had an uncle, Robert Shapland, who died of the disease.

Matthew's grandmother, June Shapland, 70, of Howard Street, Ipswich, said: “We lost our little boy in 1964 but of course medicine has come on a lot further now.

“Matthew has got cystic fibrosis and he's taking a lot of medicines to keep going.

“To do the walk was absolutely incredible. I didn't think he would make it, but he came home and phoned us up and said he had done it. We are very proud of him - we are really chuffed.”

Matthew was one of 18 players to take part in the walk, which raised almost £1,000 for the team which practices at Gainsborough Sports Centre and plays games on Sunday afternoons.

Weblink: Cystic Fibrosis Trust: www.cftrust.org.uk

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