Ex-Cuckfield resident tackles sub zero conditions to save his family’s lives

An ex-Cuckfield resident has skated more than 100 miles in Mongolia to help change his family’s lives.

John Paul Matthews, currently lives away from his family in Shanghai but that has not stopped him raising more than £5,000 for a pioneering cancer charity.

John Paul at the finish line

John Paul at the finish line

On March 6, John spent four days tackling minus 25 degree temperatures as he skated over the Khovsgol Lake as part of the Mongol 100.

John Paul’s family carries the BRCA2 gene which increases the chances of getting an aggressive form of cancer by 80 per cent.

John Paul said: “This gene has already killed my nanny and auntie Mary, and affected two other aunties, and is likely to be passed onto 13 of my cousins and their children.”

The gene has also given John Paul’s uncle and best mate, Mick McSoley, an aggressive form of prostate cancer, that he is currently battling with for his life.

“Mick told me about the support he’s received from the Royal Marsden Hospital and how their pioneering cancer research and treatment are his best hope of survival.”

John Paul explained how he wanted to give his uncle hope and a legacy and positive focus in this horrible time.

John Paul chose The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity to raise monies for as it is the first hospital to try new treatments and is at the forefront of cancer research.

The 31-year-old described the race as pretty bleak but an incredible experience.

“At tempertures of minus 25 degrees you can see ice crystals forming on your face and the ice was variable in places with massive cracks.”

He explained how the hardest part was to keep hydrated in such inhabitable conditions. “The locals would cut out a big chunk of ice and put it in a wok to melt so we had fresh water.”

John Paul described how he had to sleep with his contact lens solution tucked into his sleeping back to stop it from freezing over night.

“On the last day the wind chill picked up so we had to walk the rest of the 100km, making it harder.”

Mr Matthews explained how reaching the finish line was very emotional and that he is incredibly grateful for all the support he has received.

John Paul is still looking for donations.

To donate visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mickandthemarsden