Bradford City fan delighted to carry Olympic and Paralympic flames (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford City fan delighted to carry Olympic and Paralympic flames
A Bradford City fan has had the rare honour of being chosen to be a bearer of both the Olympic flame and the Paralympic flame Matthew Woollias, who is a Bantams’ 25-year season ticket holder, along with his dad Paul and brother Phil, was nominated to carry the Olympic flame after he had a rare form of bone cancer in 2009 and had to have his leg amputated below the knee.
He proudly completed his part of the Olympic torch relay in Filey on June 18 and on August 24 he also carried the Paralympic flame in Beverley after being chosen as a Paralympic flame ambassador.
Mr Woollias was chosen because he plays sledge hockey for the Hull Kingston Kestrels and is training with the GB squad, despite having only taken up the sport a year ago.
The squad is hoping to qualify for the Winter Paralympics in 2014.
The 23-year-old, who now lives in Hull, was in his second year at university when he was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in May, 2009 – a cancer which affects only four in a million people in the UK.
His treatment involved not only chemotherapy but the amputation of his leg below his knee.
While undergoing his chemotherapy he began fundraising for the Teenage Cancer Trust and the Bone Cancer Research Trust and has since raised about £20,000 through various events.
In his nomination the Olympic flame organisers were told: “I feel his most astounding achievement is completing a 10k run only a few months after having his leg amputated and only two months after finishing his chemotherapy, he completed his second race this year. I think the most inspirational thing about Matt is how he has dealt with his illness, he has never complained what has happened to him and managed to see the positive in the whole situation. He has also supported friends through their own life traumas.”
Mr Woollias also completed his third year at university and graduated with a higher second degree.
His proud father Paul, who lives in Bradford, said: “He is now in remission and is pursuing a career in teaching. There can’t be many Bradford City supporters who carried both flames.”