Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dying Man Wins Gamble on His Own Life

A dying man who literally gambled on his own life plans to spend his bookie's winnings on booze, fags and death-defying theme park rides!
"Well, why not?" said pragmatic Jon Matthews who has been living on borrowed time ever since he was diagnosed with an untreatable asbestos-linked cancer more than two years ago.

The 58-year-old widower, who cares for his two elderly parents at his Woburn Sands home, also plans to give away a chunk of his £5,000 winnings to Macmillian cancer care charity and Hula animal sanctuary.

He walked into Fenny Stratford's William Hill Bookmakers last September and told surprised staff he wanted to take out a £100 bet against the doctors' prediction that he'd dead by Christmas.

"I thought it would be a bit of fun and I thought it would give me an incentive to battle this horrible illness and survive a bit longer. The people at William Hill checked all the facts and gave me odds of 50-1."

The disease, mesothelioma, can lie dormant for decades but, once it develops, can kill within months. Former salesman Jon, who believes he inhaled asbestos in the old-fashioned science labs during his schooldays, was diagnosed in April 2006.

"The doctor did not mince her words: she said the disease was a death sentence and I probably would not see Christmas."

When the start of 2007 saw Jon still fighting, he started researching – and discovered the longest any mesothelioma sufferer had survived after diagnosis was 25 months.

His bet was that he would survive for 25 months and one week – until June 1. And on Sunday William Hill staff invited him along to the shop to receive his cheque.

"No one has ever asked us to bet on their own life before. But never have we been so delighted to pay out a winning bet," said company spokesman Graham Sharpe.

This week, cheerful Jon is busy planning a trip to the scariest rides at Alton Towers and, for good measure, a bungee jump.

"I've always wanted to do one. A bit of danger is great when you have nothing to lose!" he joked.

[Via Milton Keynes Citizen]

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