Updated: Tuesday, 7th July 2020 @ 8:18am

Coast to coast: Leigh teen with incurable bladder disease to run 140 miles in ONE week

Coast to coast: Leigh teen with incurable bladder disease to run 140 miles in ONE week

| By Nick Statham

A Leigh teenager recently diagnosed with an incurable bladder disease is to run 140 miles in just ONE WEEK for the charity who offered him a lifeline.

Matthew Gough, 19, suffers from interstitial cystitis (IC), a chronic inflammation of the bladder for which there is unfortunately no cure.

But despite living with the condition Matthew is taking on a gruelling coast-to-coast challenge, which will see him run 140 miles over seven days in aid of the Bladder and Bowel Foundation.

“It’s hard being told you have a chronic illness at 19, it’s more a mental thing really. It’s easy to get down on yourself,” he told MM.

“As for the physical side of it, it comes in stages. Some days it’s like I don’t have anything and others it’s quite bad.

“But I haven’t got it as bad as some people. I’ve heard of people who have to go to the toilet 50 or 60 times a day.”

He particularly praises the helplines provided by the Bladder and Bowel Foundation, as he says the mental side of being diagnosed with IC can be tough.

GIVING BACK: Matthew wants to repay the Foundation for their support

Matthew said: “I hope to raise money to support the great work the Bladder and Bowel Foundation do with their helplines and toilet card initiatives amongst other things.

“I also hope that I can raise more awareness of conditions like IC which are currently relatively unknown to the wider general public.

“When the doctors told me I had IC, like most people I was like ‘what’s that’ – I’d never heard of it. It’s like Crohn’s but in the bowel, but most people have heard of Crohn’s.

“Maybe it’s because it’s easier to pronounce, but I suppose it’s also more common,”

With the event now just over a week away, Matthew is now well into the latter stages of his training regime.

“Training has been going great,” he told MM. “It’s tough but I’ve got to get in the hard miles.”

Matthew’s local MP and Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, has called on the public to get behind the ‘truly inspirational’ Sports Psychology student.

He said: “Just over a year ago Matthew was diagnosed with IC.

“Unfortunately IC is incurable and Matthew is having to undergo regular treatment whilst putting himself through a punishing training schedule to be able to run 140 miles in seven days.

INSPIRATIONAL: The MP for Leigh has called on the town to get behind Matthew

“Matthew is a truly inspirational young man and I am calling on the great Leigh public to support him and his chosen charity to raise money to fund research into this chronic condition.”

The support from Andy Burnham has been huge help to Matthew in his bid to raise funds and awareness.

“It’s been a massive boost. I sent him an email a few months ago and I wasn’t really expecting to hear back, he’s obviously a very busy man,” Matthew said.

“But to get his support behind it has been very helpful, especially on social media platforms like Twitter. He can reach more people than I ever could.”

To sponsor Matthew before he embarks on his Whitehaven to Tynemouth endeavour visit his Just Giving page by clicking here.