17 October 2022

Half marathon to support cancer services

Imagine living 170 miles away when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer. Not being there to comfort them in person when the news was broken, then having to leave everything at home to support him through treatment.

That was the reality when Matt Coleman, from Nottingham, discovered his father had been diagnosed with cancer. Months into treatment, Matt ran the Robin Hood half marathon for Southampton Hospitals Charity to thank the hospital for the care and treatment shown to his father. He says:


“I grew up in Southampton before moving up to Nottingham 20 years ago to pursue a career in IT.

My parents, Martin and Frances still live in our family home in Southampton.

Around two months ago my dad found a lump in his throat which didn’t go away after a couple of weeks.

He went to his dentist with his concerns who referred him to Southampton General Hospital for further tests. He was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma (throat cancer) which affects the cells lining the throat.


Dad had an auto-immune illness last year, so chemotherapy wasn’t an option. The staff have been amazing, and they started his treatment so quickly!

Over the last three months he has undergone radiotherapy to shrink the cancer cells, however due to the location, they decided again operating. His treatment has now finished but he has a long road to recovery ahead.

Running for the NHS

I started running last June to improve my mental and physical health. I’d never run more than three miles before in one go, and now I’m running 25 miles a week!

I’ve been thinking about doing the Robin Hood half marathon since it was on last September, but I wasn’t quite sure which charity to run for. As soon as my dad got his diagnosis, it became obvious.

That’s why I am running for the radiotherapy department through Southampton Hospitals Charity.

The cancer diagnosis has been very hard on dad, but the care shown by the hospital has been amazing. He’s had weekly appointments with doctors and dietitians, and even made friends with other patients when waiting for treatment.

We just want to give back to Southampton Hospital and help to improve the world-class services for the next people who need to use the service.”

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