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Accrington mother faces celebrating her son's 21st without him


10:33am 12th December 2014

When Sandra Wight from Accrington celebrated her son's 18th - she never expected him to die before the next milestone.

Matthew Greenwood-Wright passed away this summer from a cancerous tumour - he was 20 years old.

Next week would have been his 21st Birthday and Sandra will mark the occasion with a fundraiser for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Sandra explained what happened to Matthew. "In the female side of our family, we've got a defective gene which leads to bowel cancer if it isn't treated. My mother died very early from bowel cancer and when myself and my two sisters were teenagers we were found to have the defective gene too. We've been monitored all our lives and then when Matthew was born we went to get him checked out and they told us it was 50/50."

"But when Matthew was about 5, we found out that he did have the defective gene and that doctors would be keeping an eye on him. When he was 14, the polyp started to grow which could grow into cancer if left untreated and when he was 17 he had stoma surgery."

Stoma surgery creates an opening in the abdomen which allows waste to leave the body. After surgery, Matthew was doing well until earlier this year. At the beginning of March he started to feel ill, which doctors initially treated as a urine infection.

When three courses of anti-biotics didn't work, Matthew was sent to the hospital to be tested for something more serious. It was then that a rare tumour was found which doctors said would be treated by medication and chemotherapy.

Months passed until August came and Matthew complained of feeling unwell and couldn't see. Sandra called an ambulance and just days later, he passed away.

Sandra said she was lost when he died, "I didn't know what to do, whether to celebrate his birthday or not."

"Matthew didn't want a fuss at his 18th, we just went out for a meal. But he'd always said he wanted a 21st. His friends and family said it would be a good thing to do so we're going to celebrate his life and listen to some of the songs that he liked."

She says her life hasn't been the same since losing her son, "People think you're alright if you're not crying. But you don't cry outside, you cry inside your house. People say, 'come round for a brew' but you don't want to pester them or put them out. So you don't go round for that brew. You put the radio on and there's a song that reminds you of him, you put the TV on - there's a programme on. It's always there...you can't get away from it."

"If anybody who knew Matthew would like to come to the fundraiser - please do and we'll try to raise as much money as possible."

Money raised from the fundraiser will go towards the Teenage Cancer Trust, there'll be a raffle with the chance to win several prizes donated from football clubs and companies around the county.

The event is at Accrington Cricket Club on 18th December at 7.30pm

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