TOP boxers are proving to be a real knockout as they help boost funds in memory of a boy who died from a bowel condition.
Harry Matthews, six, defied doctors who said he would not live past his first birthday as he battled intestinal failure from birth.
It led to the Branton battler needing a bowel transplant.
After his death last April, a bowel transplant trust was set up in his memory by parents Catherine and Adrian Matthews, 32 and 38.
The pair, who also have a two-year-old daughter called Evie, experienced how difficult it was to cope with the costs of treatment and travelling to and from London to get Harry the life-saving surgery he needed.
They launched The Harry Matthews Bowel Transplant Trust in a bid to offer parents financial support during and after their child’s treatments.
Now boxers including Conisbrough promoter Stefy Bull and Hatfield’s European bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell are supporting the trust.
Harry’s story also struck a chord with businessman Steve Phillips, treasurer at Bull’s Empress Ballroom Gym in Mexborough, who had health concerns as a baby.
Mrs Matthews, of Glen Road, said: “We got to a point where we were spending so much money on the treatment that we were on the verge of not knowing if we could pay the mortgage whilst all the time we were desperately trying to take care of Harry.
“With bowel illnesses too, it’s advised that patients should not be around bugs and so often can only have one person in the hospital room at a time, so if more people wanted to be there, they’d have to pay for hotels.
“It’s not an overnight condition, it could be days, weeks or even months at a time.”
The only two centres that offer bowel transplants are in London and Birmingham.
Mrs Matthews added: “Harry had a transplant back in 2010. He was like a new lad but then his body started rejecting it.
“He was such a happy boy despite what he was going through. But he ended up with about 12 different infections and that was just too much for him.”
Mrs Matthews also praised Harry’s school, Branton St Wilfrid’s Primary, for its support.
“We want to offer something for children like Harry. Everything possible was done for Harry during his treatment so if parents can have that little extra help financially, then that is what we want to offer,” she added.
Mr Phillips, 43, was given 24 hours to live when six-weeks-old because of a blocked foodpipe but defied medical predictions.
He said: “I asked about the trust and when I heard what that family had to go through, it reminded me of my experience.”
A sportman’s dinner where Jamie McDonnell will be guest of honour is being held at the Holiday Inn in Warmsworth from 7pm on April 20.
Tickets are £60 which includes a three-course meal and are available by calling Mr Phillips on 07979 856678.
For more details about the trust, visit www.boweltransplanttrust.co.uk