Matt Takes On Great North Run As Part Of Bucket List

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For more information about the Simplyhealth Great North Run, visit:

A man who had his leg amputated after being diagnosed with cancer will embark on a huge challenge by taking on the Simplyhealth Great North Run with his mum and sister.

Matt Hadden, from Darlington, was training to be a police officer in London when his world was turned upside down by his rare bone cancer diagnosis.

He was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in February 2015 and was forced to leave his dream job behind as he embarked on a year of intensive treatment.

A shocked Matt returned to the North East and was placed in the care of the Northern Cancer Care Centre at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, where he spent over a year almost permanently receiving chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

Despite the treatment and the amputation of his left leg to remove the tumour, it spread to his lungs, pelvis and sternum.

The blow was a huge shock mentally to Matt, who had been progressing, learning to walk with a prosthetic and tried to get his life back together.

He underwent a huge operation, which cut open his chest to remove the tumours in his lungs, but in the New Year, he received the devastating news that they had returned and it was also in his pelvis and sternum.

He is now receiving palliative care from the hospital and throughout his time there, he has received support from Maggie’s, a centre that offers advice and support to those going through cancer in the grounds of the Freeman hospital.

Matt visited the centre on a daily basis and had his life and outlook transformed by their care and attention, so much so that he decided to embark on a huge fundraising challenge for them.

After being advised to tick as many items off his bucket list as possible, Matt signed up to the world famous Simplyhealth Great North Run which takes place on Sunday 10 September.

The event is the world’s biggest half marathon, with 57,000 runners making the 13.1 mile journey from Newcastle to South Shields.

Despite his disability, he is determined to complete the world’s biggest half marathon for Maggies, along with his mum Sarah and sister Helena.

Matt, 28, said: “In 2015 I was training at my dream job at the police in London when I began to develop pain in my leg which I passed off as a bit of a niggle.

“It didn’t go away so eventually I went to the doctors and after an x-ray, I was completely shocked to be diagnosed with cancer.

“I was rushed back home to the North East, I could not believe it was happening and that I had to leave a job that I had worked so hard for. It was devastating.

“I started chemotherapy at the Freeman hospital, where I stayed almost permanently for a year as there was every hope that I would be cured of the cancer.

“After three months, I had my left leg amputated to remove the tumour completely which was pretty tough as it was so life changing.

“I learned how to walk again and started to volunteer for a number of charities to get my life back on track, but in 2016 during a check up, I was diagnosed with further tumours in my lungs which was my own personal nightmare.

“After another huge operation to remove the tumours, I then found out it had spread to my pelvis and sternum, a huge blow after I had just found the courage to apply to the police force at a location closer to home.

“Now my treatment is palliative and the cancer is now classed as incurable, I was advised to tick things off my bucket list and the Simplyhealth Great North Run is always something I have wanted to do.”

Since his initial diagnosis, Matt and his family have been supported by Maggies centre, where he visited on an almost daily basis for help, guidance and also as a way to take his mind off his treatment.

Matt, Helena, 24, and mum Sarah, 59, wanted to give something back to the charity and so they signed up to take on the Simplyhealth Great North Run.

They are hoping to raise £2,400 and to make special memories along the way during their 13.1 mile challenge.

The target would pay for one full day of support at the centre. The event is the world’s biggest half marathon, with 57,000 people taking on the iconic course from Newcastle to South Shields every year.

Matt added: “Maggie’s Newcaslte has helped us from the beginning and have been there on some of the most life challenging days I have ever gone through.

“As soon as you walk through the door, you instantly feel calm and you’re given a warm welcome, even if you just want to be left alone in a quiet room.

“They have saved our lives through the past two years. Signing up to the Simplyhealth Great North Run with my mum and sister has changed us as a family.

“We all feel a lot better getting out there and taking part in exercise. It will be a huge challenge for me taking on the event in a prosthetic, but I wanted to be able to do it while I still can and live life to the fullest.

“It’s something that everyone should do once and it’s a small price to pay for the amazing support I’ve received.”

Karen Verrill, Centre Head at Maggie’s Newcastle, said: “We wish Matt, Sarah and Helena luck in the Simplyhealth Great North Run, it will be an incredible achievement and we are so grateful that they have decided to take on this amazing challenge for Maggie’s.

“Maggie’s provides practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their family and friends, across the North East and Cumbria, so we rely on supporters taking part in events like the Simplyhealth Great North Run to ensure we are able to continue providing support to local people when they need it most.”

To support Matt and Helena’s fundraising, please visit and

For more information about the Simplyhealth Great North Run, visit: