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LOCAL LEGEND: Woman set to run 260 miles to raise funds for life long friend with Cancer

LOCAL LEGEND: Woman set to run 260 miles to raise funds for life long friend with Cancer

Martine and her daughters

Martine Harney is running 260 miles to raise funds for revolutionary treatments for a friend who is suffering from cancer.

Matt Brambini, 44, received the devastating news that he had an incurable type of cancer last year. Matt was self-employed, installing and fitting high-end fireplaces but his illness had left him temporarily unable to walk, let alone work. He has a wife, Emma, and two children, Mollie and Harvey, who are supporting him through his illness.

Lifelong friend Martine Harney, who is Facilities Management Director at Servo Group, was determined to help Matt and despite never running before has set herself a challenge to complete at least 20 miles a week until the end of March.  Martine hopes to raise £2500 to fund treatment for Matt and is almost halfway there with over £1200 raised so far.

She said: “Until December, I’d never done any serious running before so this is a real challenge for me, but it really brought the situation home to me when Matt told me he had had to relearn how to walk again in the last few months – if he’s having to go through that, I can do this. We’ve known each other since we were 16 and almost grown up together so I was determined to try and do something to help.”

Matt’s cancer is incurable, and he is being treated with chemotherapy tablets and radiotherapy. He has only had two radiotherapy sessions so far, but this has significantly shrunk one of the tumours on his spine, allowing him to walk again after eight weeks of immobility. The money that Martine raises will go towards intravenous Vitamin D and oxygen therapy treatment, which will help to alleviate some of his symptoms.

Martine’s fundraising challenge has been kickstarted by her employer, Leeds-based Servo Group, where Martine has been Facilities Management Director since June. The multi-service provider has pledged a large donation to Matt’s cause, helping her to get halfway towards her fundraising target.

She said: “It’s amazing to have Servo’s backing too – even though I only joined in June, the team feel like family! Their backing, and everyone else’s, makes running in sleet, snow, hail and floods worth every second, and it will make an incredible difference to Matt, Emma and his children. Now that Matt’s seen the results of oxygen therapy treatment, I’m determined to complete this challenge. Having never run at all before, it’s definitely testing my perseverance but continuing till the end of March is really going to change my mindset.”

Along with the normal challenges of the cancer, Matt has also had to give up his self-employed business, which he ran for twenty years, adding to the financial pressure he and his family are facing, and making friends even more determined to help.

Talking about Martine’s fundraiser, he said: “I can’t thank Martine enough for the effort and all the miles she’s put in these last five weeks, it really does mean the world to me and my family. As soon as we have enough money raised, I’d like to start intravenous Vitamin D and oxygen treatment, and I’ll also stay on chemotherapy tablets for as long as they keep working.”

Oxygen therapy and Vitamin D treatments are only available privately, at up to £400 per treatment with most patients needing at least ten.

Martine has set up her fundraiser on Facebook to ensure that all the funds go directly to Matt and his family, either to pay for treatment or to provide much-needed financial support as Matt is unable to work.

She hopes to meet her £2500 target, running 20 miles every week until the end of March. To follow her progress or donate to Matt’s fundraiser: click here!

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