Published: 06 March 2024

A mum celebrated her 50th birthday by fundraising for two charities close to her heart - Wales Air Ambulance and the Children's Liver Disease Foundation.

Jane Matthews, who describes herself as ‘not a natural runner’ decided to mark her milestone birthday by running for a month dressing up as Wonder Woman. Jane completed an amazing 50km!

Jane’s daughter Emily underwent a liver transplant in 2014, after being born with two forms of liver disease. After ‘a tricky couple of years’ Emily, 14, is ‘doing well, thriving and living her life as typical teenager’.

Explaining why she wanted to raise funds for the charities Jane said: “I wanted to raise money for Wales Air Ambulance Charity in memory of a young lady, Millie. The charity’s medics attended Millie just over two years ago, and we were completely devastated to lose her, but incredibly grateful for the help the Wales Air Ambulance provided.  

“It’s brilliant to know that Wales has a service which will transfer sick children to hospital and also repatriate them back, closer to home. I think it’s such an invaluable service for the people of Wales and very reassuring to know help is at hand.”

Reflecting on what the family went through when Emily was ill, Jane continued: “It was an incredibly tough time but through it all we received so much love and support, I really wanted to do the same for other families whose world had been turned upside down. That’s why I chose the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation who have supported us, and so many other families, from day one of diagnosis. I really wanted to give something back and help other families who might be struggling.”

As part of her fundraiser Jane’s Wonder Woman cape included the names of over 100 children with liver disease, some who have sadly passed away and others who are waiting for a transplant.

“It was a real privilege to run with their names on the cape and it was also a brilliant conversation starter where I could talk about both charities.” added Jane.

She also crocheted over 100 ‘little sprouts of hope’ to raise awareness of Organ Donation.

Jane from North Cardiff and the ‘Liver Mums’ – mums of children with liver disease, have previously fundraised for the Wales Air Ambulance. Last year in memory of Millie Carter, they gifted her family a blanket that Jane had crocheted, whilst the mums donated to the lifesaving charity. They raised a wonderful £300 in Millie’s memory.

Wales Air Ambulance is consultant-led, taking hospital-standard treatments to the patient and, if required, transferring them directly to the most appropriate hospital for their illness or injury. For the patient, this can mean hours saved when compared to standard care and is proven to greatly improve survival and early recovery. 

It is delivered via a unique Third Sector and Public Sector partnership. The Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS) supplies highly skilled NHS consultants and critical care practitioners who work on board the Charity’s vehicles.  

Jane smashed her birthday fundraising target of £400 with the donations totalling £900, which has been split equally between both causes.

A delighted Jane said: “I’m completely overwhelmed by the amount of money raised. I was aiming for £400 and it totally exceeded all expectations when I hit £900. I’m so grateful again to everyone who donated. So many locals, gave me a shout out, beeped their horns, took selfies as I plodded past, then donated. It’s been a real honour and so much fun possibly too much fun - I miss my cape now! I’m thinking of making it an annual fundraiser. 

Laura Coyne, Wales Air Ambulance’s Community Fundraising Manager said: “What a wonderful way to mark a milestone birthday! Thank you so much to Jane for taking on her running challenge, whilst dressed as Wonder Woman for two extremely important charities.

“It is touching to hear that following the Wales Air Ambulance’s involvement with Millie that Jane wanted to fundraise for the Charity. It is a beautiful way to remember Millie, who obviously  meant a lot to Jane and Emily. Thank you to everyone who supported Jane with her fundraising, the money raised will help us continue to be there for the people of Wales when they need us most.”