<"His wish was a chance for him to totally forget about that for a time and immerse himself in a world that he loves.">

Meet Matthew

Matthew’s mum Amanda says their family was living quite a “regular” life together until his diagnosis of Labrune Syndrome in 2017. “It’s an extremely rare, degenerative brain condition which as well as causing an array of symptoms such as progressive loss of mobility, speech and cognitive function also causes life threatening brain cysts and hydrocephalus,” she explains.

“It has been quite hard for Matthew to move from being a relatively typical teenager to dealing with a life now with disability,” Amanda says. “Many mainstream activities have become inaccessible to him as his condition has progressed.”

His condition means he spends a lot of time in hospital. As a way to pass the time, Matthew watches quiz shows with his mum, and the pair have developed a huge love of them.  

Amanda says: “We pass our time doing quizzes, competing against each other and quite often the nurses and other hospital staff! Matthew’s memory is still excellent and so his general knowledge is second to none.” She adds that Matthew can get quite competitive while he’s playing along, and that she loves it was his “fun, fighting spirit” comes out!

<"He was absolutely in his element!">

Why Matthew chose the wish

There was no question that game shows would be the focal point of Matthew’s wish with Rays of Sunshine. His Wish Granter organised a VIP behind the scenes experience at one of Matthew’s favourite quiz shows: The Chase! 

Recalling the wish, Amanda says: “Matthew was a bit nervous on the morning of his wish. He’s obviously such a massive fan of The Chase, but he didn’t really know what to expect behind the scenes.

“The production team were fantastic and the minute Bradley Walsh was introduced it was exactly what Matthew needed to help put him at ease. He’s just as lovely and funny in real life as he is on TV.”

The team were able to organise for Matthew’s favourite Chaser to be there: Jenny Ryan. “He says she’s the best and he wanted the chance to ‘beat the best’!” Amanda says.

Once Matthew was mic’ed up, the pair went head to head! “Matthew’s general knowledge didn’t disappoint on the day either – he got every question right, except 1 and beat the Chaser (who got 2 wrong)! By the end of it he was absolutely in his element,” Amanda says. “It was amazing seeing him enjoy himself so much.”

Unknown to Matthew and his family, the producers had recorded his whole game with Jenny. They edited it in the style of the show, and the video is now a precious keepsake and memory for Matthew. Amanda says the video is “something we will treasure forever.”


The impact of the wish


With his illness being so rare, and him having to spend a lot of time away from peers while he is in the hospital, day to day life can feel isolated for Matthew,” Amanda says. But his wish was a chance for him to totally forget about that for a time and immerse himself in a world that he loves.