How would you spend your time if you had just six months left to live? Matt Greenwood hopes to see the world—and his friends are doing everything they can to make sure he gets to do it. Since being diagnosed with terminal bone cancer, the 21-year-old University of Oxford engineering student has had one leg amputated and also learned that the cancer spread to his lungs. But that hasn’t stopped him from focusing his energies on relearning to walk and achieving his goal to do some travelling in the months he has left.
To ensure that he gets to travel, Greenwood’s friends have launched a campaign in his name to raise funds and cover the cost of a special wheelchair, prosthetics and a trained caregiver to travel with him. So far, the story has inspired generosity from strangers to the tune of close to £35,000 (around $58,000 CAD). The goal is to get to £75,000 so that Matt can see Athens and Rome, plus take a trip to Disneyland Paris.
Classmates from his university are helping to raise funds both online (in the form of a crowdfunding site you can donate to here) as well as in the real world. This weekend, they’ll host an “ergathon” in Oxford—an event where rowers will attempt to row a combined 1,000 km to raise even more cash for the cause.
Before his diagnosis, Matt was into both travel and athletics, so the illness has had a huge impact on his formerly active life.
“I was very sporty,” he said. “I rowed in Oxford and played rugby before that. I used to run, play squash, cycle and get as much time outdoors as I could. One of my greatest passions was to travel as much as possible,” said Greenwood, who’s been to China, Africa and across Europe.
“The support of my friends and family is all that has got me through the last 15 weeks, and I am so grateful for everyone who has been there for me. I am not just going to lie here and let cancer win; I am going to travel and party and love, and get the most I can out of the remainder of my life,” Greenwood promises.
“Seeing all the messages of support has been really touching,” adds the 21-year-old’s mother, Michaela Greenwood. “I am in awe of the love that people have and are willing to share when times are desperate. I can only thank everyone so much for their amazing support and generosity.”