KEEN photographer Matthew Parsons is using his exceptional gift to raise money for Weston Park Cancer Hospital, where he is being treated for a rare cancer.
The 31-year-old dad is currently undergoing gruelling radiotherapy - but is determined to give something back to the hospital.
Matthew told The Star: “Due to my current circumstances I’m unable to raise funds via the traditional sponsored walks or bike rides.
“Rather than accept that, I looked into other ways to raise money.
“I’m a keen photographer, so I set up a website that allows people to buy my prints online.
“A large percentage of the sale is then donated to Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity.”
Matthew, from Chesterfield, has just started a five-day-a-week intensive course of radiotherapy, due to last five weeks.
Just three years ago he was fit, healthy and very active.
He and his partner Caroline had just welcomed their first child, Lewis, into the world, and Matthew competed regularly in charity sporting events.
Then an injury changed his life for ever.
Matthew, a retail manager at a DIY store, said: “I slipped a disc and went for a scan on my back, but it revealed I had a rare tumour near my spine.”
The biopsy showed it was a desmoid tumour, a complex condition that has divided opinion in the medical world - some experts describe it as a low-grade cancer and while others say it is benign.
“There’s no history of cancer in my immediate family so it came as a big surprise,” he said.
“I think I’m dealing with it quite alright, it’s just when you think about your family and friends, that’s when it gets hard.”
He began treatment at Weston Park and the tumour was removed in January 2011, but it returned last October when he underwent a second operation.
Matthew, who has built up a portfolio of pictures over a decade of taking photos in the Peak District, said: “As I have had muscles removed from my lower back I can’t do anything physical at the moment, and so I decided to use my love of photography as a way to raise money.
“I thought it was a bit of a different way to raise support and awareness and gives people a lifelong memento of how they have helped the charity.”
Sarah Cross, fundraiser at Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity, said: “It is fantastic Matthew is helping to raise money and we are especially grateful he is doing so while going through radiotherapy.
“His prints are absolutely stunning and we would encourage everyone to have a look at his website and support Matthew’s fundraising.”
Photograph prices start from £3.99 and all proceeds from prints purchased between now and September will go to the charity.
Log on to www.parsonsphotography.co.uk