Generosity of local Lions Clubs shines bright

Members of the Lions Club with Matthew Brown.
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Lions Clubs of Cambridge Park, Emu Plains and Penrith have joined forces to gift Cranebrook boy Matthew Brown a RAD Race Runner, enabling him to pursue his passion for athletics.

According to Treasurer of the Lions Club of Cambridge Park and Zone 9 Chair, Linda Lamond, Matthew’s case was brought to her attention in September last year by the Australian Lions Children’s Mobility Foundation, after which she took it to the Zone for consideration.

“The three clubs in our area – Penrith, Cambridge Park, and Emu Plains – were straight away on board,” she said.

After getting the finances approved, raised through the Lions Chocolate Wheel at Westfield Penrith, Lamond was able to have the equipment ordered, liaising with 10-year-old Matthew’s physiotherapist.

Once the Race Runner arrived, members of the three Lions Clubs were invited to a fitting at Western Sydney University’s Kingswood Campus, attended also by Matthew’s physiotherapist, and a representative from Dejay.

At this fitting, the Lions were able to see Matthew learn to use the Race Runner, and participate in exercises with him – an emotional experience for all.

“It brings a lump to my throat, where I could see Matthew there with a big smile on his face and his feet on the ground, and he was running in that runner,” Lamond said.

“For us as Lions, quite often we do donate a lot of money to a lot of causes, but it’s just so heartwarming to be there and see the benefit that has been given to a child.”

The event was just as emotional and exciting for Matthew and his mum Melanie Brown.

“I think the Lions Club actually wanted to present him with the frame runner, but they didn’t have the opportunity, because as soon as he saw it, he was on there!” she said.

Melanie said the journey to get Matthew a Race Runner has been a long one, having first been loaned one by Dejay for a school athletics carnival in 2022.

“The smile on his face the first time he got on the frame runner at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, I knew that it was something that was going to bring him so much more independence than riding a modified bike,” she said.

“The freedom on his face, the smile on his face, he was just beaming. It was nothing like I’d ever seen before.”

When they weren’t able to get one through NDIS, they were suggested to go through the Lions, who had been looking to donate something like this to a local child.

Since getting his RAD Race Runner, Matthew has been using it non-stop, running with his dog, and training for triathlons with his dad.

“Being in the frame runner, he could go again, and again, and again,” Melanie said.

“It really is the best fit for him.”

Matthew now has big dreams of competing in frame running at the Paralympics.

“Bring on Brisbane is all I can say!” Melanie said.

Cassidy Pearce

Cassidy Pearce is a news and entertainment journalist with The Western Weekender. A graduate of the University of Technology Sydney, she has previously worked with Good Morning Macarthur and joined the Weekender in 2022.

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