Why this ex Royal Marine is selling his war medals for a little girl he has never met
Veteran Matthew Goodman is raising funds for Lottie Woods-Johns who has neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer.
A former Royal Marine who served in the 2003 Iraq War is selling his war medals to help fund a four-year-old’s £200,000 cancer treatment.
Veteran Matthew Goodman, 35, read about little Lottie Woods-John’s battle with neuroblastoma and decided to step in and help the family.
Despite never meeting Lottie, the married father-of-one, from Cheltenham, felt touched by her fight and listed his three service medals on eBay.
Matthew, a duty manager at a leisure centre, said: “When I came across Lottie’s campaign, I was heartbroken to read her battle against childhood cancer.
“Her prognosis means she has 85 percent chance of relapse.
“As a father myself, I couldn’t imagine seeing my baby daughter, Freya, suffering like that and I knew I had to help in some way.
“My medals were just sitting in the drawer doing nothing, and I thought they could be used for something worthwhile.
“They were awarded for the sacrifices I made, but I’m happy to forgo that honour if it means helping a little girl in desperate need.”
Matthew, who served in the Royal Marines for five years, hopes to fetch the maximum amount for his medals to contribute towards Lottie’s fund for further treatment in the US.
In June 2016, Lottie’s parents, Charlotte Woods, 36 and David John, 44, an events manager, received the crushing news that their little girl had cancer.
Initially they thought their daughter was suffering from a tummy bug after persistent vomiting.
But when her stomach started to swell, Lottie was rushed to A&E at St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey, Surrey.
Sadly, doctors discovered a melon-sized tumour in her stomach and she was diagnosed with rare childhood cancer: neuroblastoma.
Less than 100 children in the UK are diagnosed each year, with most sufferers aged under five years old.
Lottie’s parents were told their daughter had aggressive stage 4 cancer which had spread to her bones and bone marrow.
The youngster immediately underwent chemotherapy and, in October last year, had a 13-hour operation to remove 95 per cent of the 12cm tumour.
Now she is undergoing immunotherapy to zap the rest of the cancerous cells in her body, but desperately needs an innovative vaccine treatment available in America.
Charlotte, Lottie’s full time carer, who lives in Addlestone, Surrey, said: “Lottie has been given 20 per cent chance of surviving the next five years and there’s an 85 per cent chance of the cancer returning.
“At the moment Lottie’s health is up and down. One minute she’ll be happily playing in the garden and the next, her temperature will spike and she’ll be rushed to hospital in an ambulance.
“We are living day to day and don’t know what the future holds.
“The vaccine treatment prevents the cancer from returning, so Lottie needs the cutting-edge treatment straight away, meaning we need the £200,000 imminently.
Charlotte, who has two other children, Georgia, 18 and Jack, 16, added: “When Matt contacted me to tell me he wanted to sell his medals to help towards treatment costs I was speechless.
“He risked his life for those medals and the fact that he’s not even met Lottie, but wants to help keep her alive is mind-blowing.
“I can’t thank him enough.”
Matthew, who served in Afghanistan, Iraq and Northern Ireland, said: “Raising that amount of money is a monumental task. If people stand up and support families like Lottie’s then it makes all the difference.
“I hope to set a really nice example to my daughter when she grows up. To show her how to be compassionate and make sacrifices for others.
“Once they’re sold, in the place of my medals I’ll be wearing a childhood cancer awareness ribbon.
“For me, nothing is worth a child’s life.”
To help the family please donate here.
This post was first published by Gloucestershire Live.