A former University of Northampton student, with permanent sight loss, is taking on 26 miles with his brother this weekend, who is acting as his guide.
Mathew Rowcliffe, 23, who lives in Northampton, was diagnosed with Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy in November 2015. He started to notice a change in his vision earlier that year, around the time he graduated from university.
His diagnosis was confirmed by a blood test in January 2016. Before this, Mathew convinced himself that his sight would return. It was only after the diagnosis came that he accepted that his sight loss was permanent.
Now, Mathew, who is an assistant manager at a bar, will be running with his older brother, Huw, as his guide runner. This is their first marathon and they are hoping to cross the finish line in four and a half hours.
Mathew, who is raising money for Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), said: “I used to run before I was diagnosed with Leber’s and last summer I decided to join a gym and get back into it. I needed a goal to set my mind to, and decided to sign up to the London Marathon.
“My brother, Huw, will be guiding me on the day, steering me out of the way of any hazards, as well as keeping track of our time.
“RNIB is a cause very close to my heart. They’ve helped me a lot over the last two and a half years, and I want to give something back and show how much I appreciate their support by raising as much money as possible.”
Lizzi Wagner RNIB senior challenge events manager said: “We’re thrilled to have Mathew on Team RNIB for our 150th anniversary. His passion and dedication is truly inspiring and we can’t wait to cheer him all the way to the finish line.
“The money Mathew raises will enable us to continue to help people living with sight loss to face the future with confidence, so please dig deep and support his fundraising efforts.”
To help Mathew and Huw reach their fundraising target and support RNIB, donate at www.justgiving.com/mathew-rowcliffe.