AT just eight months old he was diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer and underwent painstaking surgery that saved his life.
Matt Haskell lost his right eye because of the aggressive form of the disease known as retinoblastoma which affects the retina of children predominantly under six years old.
Now aged 32 and with a child of his own, he is getting on his bike to help raise awareness and funds for vital research by the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust.
Matt, who lives in Thornhill Park, will this weekend take part in the Prudential Ride London-Surrey 100 event which involves cycling the 100-mile circuit used for the London 2012 Olympics.
The owner of energy company I-Therm said: “My daughter Lily is two-and-a-half years old and because retinoblastoma can be hereditary she has to go to the Royal London Hospital every six months for check-ups.
“It was while we were on one of those visits that I found out about the ride and it sounded like a fantastic challenge.
“I want a chance to use my experience for something good and get people talking about the illness.”
Matt, who is a member of the Winchester-based VC Venta cycling club, has been busy training over the past few months clocking up anything between 100 and 160 miles per week and hopes to reach his fundraising target of £2,000.
The charity has three missions, to offer one-to-one support for families and individuals affected by retinoblastoma, to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms to prompt earlier diagnosis, and to help fund research into the disease.
To support Matt’s cause, visit justgiving.com/|MattHaskell.