Dr King conquers the Camino de Santiago for Force
- Credit: Archant
A dynamic Ottery doctor refused to let a brain tumour diagnosis stop him from embarking on a 500-mile charity trek - which raised more than £16,000 for charity.
Dad-of-three Mat King had to be resuscitated after being found unconscious by his family four days before Christmas. He was admitted to hospital and later diagnosed with a grade-two glioma brain tumour, which is expected to become high-grade.
A GP at the Coleridge Medical Centre, Dr King was unable to work or drive after the diagnosis, but set himself the challenge of walking the Camino de Santiago, from France to Spain, to raise money for Force Cancer Charity.
“Apart from the physical challenge, it was a completely humbling time,” he said.
“The people living along the way have so much respect for the peregrinos [pilgrims], and are so helpful and caring.
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“I still can’t get over the sum of money raised. I remember when we set the target at £1,000. That was reached within a few days.”
The trek from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain took Dr King five weeks and he finished the challenge on Sunday, April 12.
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He stayed in Refugios [basic bunkhouses] along the way and was accompanied by close friends and relatives for several stints of the journey.
His wife, Stella, and children Rosie, Sam and Charlie flew out to join him for the final leg of the trek.
Force Cancer Support is a charity particularly close to the family’s hearts, because Stella had bowel cancer 15 yeas ago and has since gone on to volunteer as an oncology support specialist.
Force fundraiser Naomi Cole said: “We are incredibly grateful to Dr King for undertaking this challenge on behalf of the charity.
“We have enjoyed sharing the journey with him [but without the tired legs] and it has been fantastic to see all of the amazing support that he has received from friends, family, colleagues and patients alike.”
She thanked people for their generosity and said the money will make a huge amount of difference to local people affected by cancer.
To donate, visit: www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/MatthewKingCamino.