Flight Attendant Takes on Triathlon to Help Hartfield Teen Regain Independence

27 May 2024

Flight Attendant Takes on Triathlon to Help Hartfield Teen Regain Independence

A Clapham-based BA flight attendant is gearing up for the T100 triathlon this July to raise funds for her colleague’s teenage daughter, Matilda Kelly, who is battling severe mobility issues due to cerebral palsy.

Event Details:

  • Event: T100 Supersprint Triathlon
  • Date: July 28
  • Location: London
  • Activities: 1.4km swim in the Thames, 10km bike ride, and 2.5km run
  • Fundraising Goal: £2,000

Matilda’s Journey:

Matilda Kelly, 14, from Hartfield, East Sussex, has been living with cerebral palsy, a condition that severely impacts her mobility. Despite undergoing multiple surgeries, including a significant one in America at the age of two funded by a £120,000 campaign, her mobility has regressed as she has grown. Currently, Matilda frequently uses a wheelchair or walker and suffers near-constant pain due to her condition.

Matilda’s hamstrings are so tight that her knees have fractured spontaneously, causing her to walk with a crouch that affects her hips, back, and posture. This has resulted in one leg being shorter than the other.

The family is now raising funds for a PERCS surgery in the US, which aims to lengthen her hamstrings. This surgery, performed by the same surgeon who operated on her as a child, is not available in the UK.

Matilda’s Perspective:

"I'm in so much pain with all this and feel I'm missing out on life because I can't join in to the best of my ability. To set me up in the best way for adult life and keep me walking independently, I need to have surgery to lengthen my hamstrings. I'm an independent soul and I want to stay that way."

Meg Williamson’s Challenge:

Meg Williamson, 25, a flight attendant and friend of Matilda’s mother, Lindsey, will be participating in her first triathlon. She has been training since January, balancing her regimen with her demanding travel schedule.

“I met Matilda’s mum Lindsey during our cabin crew training around a year ago. She is the kindest, most generous, positive person – you’d never know how hard she has to work to fundraise for Matilda. Taking on this triathlon for Matilda seemed like a great way to help."

Additional Fundraising Event:

In addition to the triathlon, the family is organizing an I360 abseil in Brighton on July 11 for 30 participants. Eight spots are still available at £200 each, with £100 going directly to Matilda’s fund.

Support from Tree of Hope:

Matilda’s family is supported by Tree of Hope, a children’s charity that aids families in fundraising for healthcare needs not covered by the NHS, providing charity status benefits such as gift aid and corporate support.

Georgina Lowry, Head of Marketing and Family Support at Tree of Hope, said: “We hope the triathlon goes well and wish Meg all the best with her training. We are here to support however we can.”

How to Help: