In memory of Aoife
Matt and Shirley’s daughter Aoife was born with Spina Bifida. Sadly, beautiful Aoife passed away in July 2010 aged just five years old.
Since then the family have raised almost £10,000 for Sparks, to help children stay healthy in the future.
“We wanted to support a charity that would try and get to the source of the problem and help another child to be born healthy. What Aoife endured might become totally preventable in the future,” Matt explains.
Sparks has funded research into the cause of Spina Bifida, and now Matt and Shirley are dedicated fundraisers, working hard to help other children and their families.
The couple are truly inspiring people and have raised an incredible £9,229 for Sparks so far. “If we can help at least one child in the future that that will give us some element of comfort,” says Matt.
Matt and the two of his friends took on the mammoth challenge of cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats in July 2011. They cycled around 100 miles each day for nine days. Matt says, “Aoife pushed herself beyond all limits so I wanted to do something that really pushed me as well. Aoife never let anything stop her and she epitomised that her condition doesn’t have to hold you back”.
“Aoife would laugh her head off at what Matt has done, she had a wicked sense of humour,” says Shirley, “But she would be so proud to see him cycling up mow cop hill, the killer mile.”
Shirley and Matt have been overwhelmed by the encouragement and involvement of their family and friends. Shirley says, “People have been so supportive; our friend Bev is breeding African snails as Aoife loved snails. Our son Matthew, aged seven, is an inventor and he is designing a board game for Aoife and Sparks.” Shirley herself recently ran the Manchester 10k to raise money and is recruiting others to run the race with her next year.
“We’ve never done anything for charity before, apart from making donations, but we want people to know that it shouldn’t take something tragic to happen to inspire you to make a difference. Everyone can make a difference to a child of the future by supporting Sparks”.
Click here to find out more about the family and their incredible journey