Matt's inspiring story

Matthew Eames has had crohns since he was eight years old. Ten years ago aged 22 he had a sub total colectomy with ileostomy. Prior to the operation he was virtually housebound as he was going to the toilet 20-30 times a day. Matthew said of that time:

The op changed and saved my life. I wish I had done it earlier.

Fast forward to 2020 and Matthew decided to set himself a major challenge to celebrate 10 years with his stoma bag. He said:

Since my op I’ve accomplished things I never thought my disease would allow me to do. I’ve put on weight and muscle, become confident in myself, got and held a job I love for seven years, married the love of my life and bought a house. So I thought I’d think big with the challenge to match how big I feel these accomplishments are for me.

Behind Matthew's house is Cragg Hill - the longest continual gradient in England which rises from the valleys of Yorkshire to the wild moors on the Lancashire border. He worked out that if he cycled up Cragg Vale 30 times it would be 8850m of vertical height gain - Mount Everest is 8848m.

Having planned his challenge for September, Matthew was furloughed and so decided to bring it forward. On 1 May he set off to ride the hill 30 times in 31 days - a round trip of 19 miles each day. Matthew said the first week was tough:

Cragg vale isn’t a steep hill but it’s a long energy-sapping drag. I played about with my fuelling and after the first week I’d worked out that bananas (good for my stoma output too) and Battenberg were my perfect food source whilst on the ride!
I decided to leave my double run until the last day. It was tough but I managed the 38-mile double run and even had the bonus of an ice cream van being at the top for my final ascent. I sat having an ice cream at the top having accomplished my own personal Everest and felt blessed that my body enabled me to do it.
I think that crohns and colitis can be a mental barrier as well as a physical condition. So, if you want to do something but don’t think your disease will allow it, just give it a go. You might be surprised.
I hope this provides some motivation to those struggling with crohns and colitis. Things will get better if you believe they will, there is so much support available out there especially from CICRA, and on that basis, I would be incredibly grateful to anybody who could sponsor me and make a donation on my behalf to this wonderful charity.

Please donate if you would like to celebrate Matthew's brilliant achievement and support young people today living with Crohn's and colitis.