Family and friends are pulling out all the stops to create special memories for a young Luton Town fan from Stotfold who is battling terminal cancer.
Ethan Matthews, eight, was given only one month to live on November 19, and the community rallied round to help his parents Hannah and Henry bring their wedding forward so that Ethan could be there to celebrate their big day.
The brave Hatters’ fan was also given a special weekend to remember, walking out on to Luton Town’s Kenilworth Road pitch with player James Collins on Saturday, before celebrating Christmas early with all his family on Sunday.
Now, a new mission is underway to allow Ethan to tick an aviation dream off his wishlist – a flight in a helicopter!
Mum, Hannah Matthews, 33, said: “The wedding was amazing, so many people came together to make sure we had a day to remember.”
She added: “We have no choice but to stay strong for each other and our children. Our family and friends are all amazing people, and support from people who have never met us has been so heartfelt.”
Ethan was first diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2016, and had an operation and chemotherapy. He was given the all clear in January 2017 and rang the victory bell, but just one year later, the family were given the devastating news that the cancer had returned to Ethan’s head and spine. The brave boy then faced radiotherapy and an operation to remove 96% of the cancer from his spine.
However, unfortunately this was not enough, and the family have been told there is nothing more doctors can do to fight the Medulloblastoma.
Family friend Kaira Spence, 37, said: “Ethan’s personality is infectious, he is the most loveliest, sweet little boy. The family have touched so many people and they will never be on their own.”
Ethan is spending his final days at Keech Hospice Care, but thanks to the help of the community and Keech staff, he was able to celebrate his parents’ wedding at St Mary’s Church, Stotfold, on November 27. It had been brought forward from 2021, and proud Ethan and his two brothers, Brandon, 12, and Jack, four, were at the front of the church to watch the blessing of the rings .
At his special day seeing Luton Town v Wigan Athletic, the brothers also got to walk on to the pitch, Brandon with Ryan Tunnicliffe and Jack with James Bree.
Meanwhile, thanks to a GoFundMe donation page, which has so far raised £2,295 the family were able to buy toys for a family Christmas.
Hannah said: “The club and players went above and beyond to give the boys and us a day we’ll never forget.
“On Sunday, we had such a wonderful day all together.
“Watching the children open their presents, eating nice food and Santa coming made it extra special.”
The family would like to thank Keech Hospice Care, the community, family, friends, St Mary’s Church, Gary Connelly and staff at the Fox and Duck, Champneys, Joanne King, Bob (Santa) his sons (the reindeer) his daughter (the elf), Luton Town Football Club, the Buxtons of example2catering, and everyone who has donated or helped them.
They would also like to thank the organisers of the GoFundMe page Joanne King, Ethan’s nan Rosemarie Skinner, aunty Emily Matthews and Kaira.
There is also special mention for Panic Ink, in Hitchin, who organised a fund-raiser so customers could get tattoos of the name Ethan in a heart (Ethan’s own design).
Kaira added: “Now, the race is on to get Ethan up in a helicopter over Stotfold on Saturday, with as many people as possible there to look up at him for an aerial photo.
“We are also appealing for anyone who could help us organise a family day to Lapland UK in Berkshire asap.”
For details, contact Kaira 07383977621 or email@example.com, or Emily 07969910115 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To donate to towards the flight, search ‘Ethan’s Magical Christmas’ on GoFundMe or click here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/ethan039s-magical-christmas