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MARATHON first-timer, Matthew Fenlon, is hoping he can overcome his nerves next month when he takes on the challenge of a lifetime – the London Marathon.
Matthew, who is profoundly deaf, is tackling the 26.2 mile course around London to raise money for Sense, the national charity that supports people with complex communication needs, including those who are deafblind. He has set himself a target of raising £2,050 for the charity that has a special place in his heart, and has so far raised £1,130.
About his passion for the charity Sense, Matthew said, “I recall when I was a child, watching my gran being a part of supporting deafblind people at Birmingham Deaf Club. I used to watch her communicate with people using hand on sign language and was fascinated by this.
“I have been involved with supporting deafblind people for the last 15 years at various times of my life. From supporting people in a care home or in their own home, acting as a communicator guide and an intervenor for children who are deafblind.
“People don’t realise that deafblindness can be an isolating disability. Deafblindness is a unique disability where it varies from person to person. Each has their own method of communication, own preference of how to be guided; not one person is the same.
“Imagine not being able to leave your home to do the things you enjoy, the simplest things such as going to the shop, visiting your friends, and being a part of your community due to being unable to see or hear. This is where Sense comes in, they work hard to make a difference for every person they meet, breaking down those barriers and include them in day-to-day activities.”
About how his training is progressing, Matthew said, “I have taken part in a few organised runs to help my training, like the Bowerhill Bomber, the Tough Runner in Exeter and the Bristol Half Marathon. And I regularly take part in Melksham’s parkrun. Coming up I have the London Half Marathon at the end of March to help give me an idea of what the roads are like.
“I’m very nervous about my first marathon – I’ve never done anything like this before! Plus as a deaf person, I’m relying on the crowd to keep me going!”
To donate and support Matthew, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/matthew-fenlon