Olympic star Usain Bolt donates shoes to 9-year-old who lost leg
OLYMPIC sprint superstar Usain Bolt sent a signed pair of his running shoes to a Bristol nine-year-old after hearing the youngster had lost a leg to bone cancer.
Keen footballer Matthew Smith was complaining of pain in his right leg just before Christmas and a series of scans and tests revealed he had osteosarcoma.
Initially there was hope his leg could be saved but despite months of intensive chemotherapy the tumour spread from Matthew's knee and up his thigh leaving medics no option.
It was a huge blow for Matthew, his parents Colin and Liz, and older sister Lucy, 12, who live in Brislington.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
Bolt, the quickest man in history, is a world superstar and took gold in both the 100m and 200m at the London Olympics.
He was informed of the tragedy by his mum, who had been told Matthew's plight by her cousin Vinette Jones.
Mrs Jones works with one of Mr Smith's friends, who had let her know he was trying to raise money for the family.
Mrs Jones, who lives in Filton, said: "I think the story really struck a chord with him.
"Usain is a very quick runner so he thought about what it would be like for him to lose a leg.
"I had asked if he would mind sending a T-shirt but he said he would send some signed running spikes because he thought they would raise more money for Matthew."
Incredibly Bolt's mother Jennifer came to Brislington after the Olympics to present the spikes to Matthew in person.
Since the operation in April Matthew has been having regular physiotherapy sessions to help him learn to walk using a prosthetic leg. He is desperate to play football again.
Mr Smith said: "To be honest we went for X-rays just to establish that he had some sort of knee injury.
"When they said there was something wrong I thought it was good because we could then treat it.
"But when doctors explained exactly what they had found it was a big shock. Since then it has been a roller coaster."
Since Matthew fell ill his family have been stunned by the support they have received.
Matthew's football club Brislington Juniors FC and Knowle golf club, where he is a member, started fund raising to support the family.
A charity fun day was held in August, and later this month three parents are taking the courageous step of taking part in a sponsored sky dive.
"It has been overwhelming for us," Mr Smith said. "Sometimes I get more emotional about the support people have shown us than the situation itself. He is learning to walk again but gets outside in the garden on crutches so he can play football.
"Ultimately he finds it frustrating and just wants to be back in goal for Brislington juniors."
Discussing Bolt's gesture he said: "Having Usain Bolt's mum come and present Matthew with a signed pair of his spikes was brilliant.
"It was such a nice night and all the football boys came and met Mrs Bolt.
"Matthew really appreciated it and couldn't believe that one of the biggest superstars in the world had done that for him. It meant a lot to all of us."
Robert Cousins is the U10s manager at Brislington Juniors FC and the man who works with Mrs Jones whom he approached to see if Bolt could help.
He said: "True to his and his mother's word, a pair of the signed spikes were presented to Matthew in front of the rest of the parents and boys of the football team by Jennifer Bolt herself. The spikes are going to go on eBay in the hope of raising as much as possible for Matthew and his family to live as normal life as possible."
If anyone wishes to make a bid for the spikes they should visit eBay and search for item 200831913814 or write a note on the Matthew Smith charity page on Facebook.