A PLUCKY youngster battling a degenerative muscle-wasting condition will become the star of the show as he hits the small screen twice today.
Eight-year-old Matthew Brettell, who suffers from Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy, has been taking part in an ITV programme with others youngsters being treated at the Great North Children’s Hospital.
As part of Kids With Cameras: Diary of a Children’s Ward – Matthew, of Thorney Close – has been given a camera to film himself talking about his experiences.
In episode one which airs on ITV1 at 9pm today Matthew features briefly, before taking a major part in the hour-long show next Thursday.
Matthew, who was diagnosed 18 months ago, and parents Maria, 34, and dad Gavin, 40, will also appear live on ITV’s This Morning today, to promote the programme.
The family was asked whether Matthew could take part in the filming as he was undergoing a clinical trial at the hospital, which is part of Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
Maria said: “They thought he would be great on the programme as he is quite a bubbly and cheeky chappie. We thought it would help raise awareness of such a critical condition.
“The children talk about how they feel about having their conditions, which can be short-term or long-term. The kids are being the producers themselves.
“Sometimes us parents have to hold the camera, but other times Matthew just picks it up and switches it on and asks different questions to himself about his condition and how he feels about going into hospital.”
Matthew has been taking part on and off for the last two months
Careworker Maria said: “Obviously he’s talking about it more,” she said. “It’s helping Matthew as it becomes easier to talk about it. And also to raise awareness so that more people know about this condition and understand a little of what he is going through.”
The family, which also includes brother Daniel, seven, and sister Naomi, 17, recently launched campaign Matthew’s Milestones.
The Echo reported that the family want to raise enough cash to adapt their home to provide a safe haven for Matthew as his condition deteriorates and he becomes less mobile.
So far the appeal has raised £1,350, but the family needs to raise a total of £45,000 to top up a £30,000 government grant to pay for the building work.
A fund-raiser – Matthew’s Magical Motown Night – is being held this evening from 7pm at Humbledon and Plains Farm Working Men’s Club.
Tickets are £5, available from Hope 4 Kidz on 534 7788 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To donate to the Matthew’s Milestones appeal, visit www.justgiving.com/Maria-Brettell.