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Martyn’s Advent Challenge: Man running 25 10Ks to help disabled Cwmgors 5 year-old

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A teacher has set himself the arduous challenge of running a daily 10k throughout the festive period, from December 1 until his final run on Christmas Day in order to raise money for the young son of his childhood friends.

Martyn Latchman, 35, Assistant Headteacher and Head of Computer Science at Goldington Academy in Bedford was eager to help when he learned that his childhood friends, Ffion and Jon Kidwell from Cwmgors in Neath Port Talbot, were fundraising to secure specialist physiotherapy for their 5-year-old son.

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Gwilym Kidwell has bilateral Cerebral Palsy and this physiotherapy will play a crucial role in helping him prepare for his upcoming potential spinal surgery.

Martyn will complete a mixture of treadmill, trail and road runs, depending on the weather and injuries. He has created a website dedicated to providing updates on his daily 10ks as well as the total cumulative distance covered: http://www.gogwilym250.co.uk.

Gwilym Kidwell was born prematurely at 27 weeks; he has always shown a very determined spirit and has made amazing progress in countering the specific mobility difficulties he faces due to his bilateral Cerebral Palsy.

Gwilym is currently awaiting approval for lifechanging spinal surgery Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR). This operation is the only procedure that offers permanent improvement for Gwilym’s condition by reducing the spasticity (stiffness) in his legs, but it must be completed at this early age.

Gwilym now needs more frequent blocks of intensive and specialist physiotherapy as this is the determining factor in the success of the operation. This isn’t currently available on the NHS so Gwilym’s parents pay for these Strength & Conditioning sessions privately.

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All money raised through Martyn’s ‘Go Gwilym 250 Challenge’ will go directly to ‘SDR Rehab’ specialist therapists based in Cwmbran to make sure Gwilym has the best preparation and post-op rehabilitation.

“I’m grateful that I’m able to support Gwilym and his family in the new fight they face together,” dad-of-two Martyn said. “I’ve been interested in fitness for several years now; being able to run every day is an absolute privilege and it’s not something I ever want to take for granted. I want to do what I can to help Gwilym get fighting fit for his surgery.”

Martyn added, “I know Gwilym is a ‘maths whizz’ and learned all his times tables before leaving Reception and will no doubt be following my progress closely and paying attention to the times I clock for each of my 10ks.”

Martyn will be cheered on each day by his wife Emma, 36, SENDCo and Psychology Teacher at Biddenham International School, as well as his two young children Toby, 7, and Holly, 2.

Gwilym’s dad, Jon 36, praised his friend: “Martyn has always been an incredibly dedicated and determined individual and I know he can accomplish this superhuman effort whilst juggling all his different responsibilities.”

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The Kidwell family has set a target of raising a total of £18,000 to pay for Gwilym’s therapies, and have already raised more than £11,000 through the support of family and friends, and sponsored events.

The Kidwells are supported by children’s charity Tree of Hope. The charity helps families fundraise for children with healthcare needs which are not covered by the NHS and provides charity status to benefit from gift aid, corporate support, whilst also providing donor reassurance. 

Gill Gibb, Tree of Hope CEO said: ”It’s fantastic to see that the Kidwell family have so much support around them in their fundraising. Martyn’s Advent Challenge is certainly an ambitious one and we wish him all the best with it.’

For more information or to donate, go to http://www.justgiving.com/gogwilym250 or text GOGOGWILYM to 705060 to donate £5 (Texts cost the donation amount plus one standard network rate message)

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