Matt takes on ‘The Jungle Ultra’ for RSBC

Matt on his quest

Matt Monaghan is taking on an enormous challenge for RSBC, one not many of us would ever consider. He will be running and trekking through 230km of thick jungle this June and raising money for blind children in the process! He started on his training and fundraising journey last year, and now he wants to share his story with you.

Matt’s Story

“When I was 15 years old, I detached my retina playing rugby and following 11 operations, subsequently, lost the sight in my left eye shortly after my 17th birthday. It’s fair to say it was a difficult adjustment period. Tasks that were previously second nature became a challenge: driving, walking in crowds, negotiating anything in the dark or even something as simple as pouring a drink. With only one eye you lose all depth perception and not being able to immediately judge the distance you are from an object takes some time to adjust to.

With 56 hospital visits over the 2 years, I met a diverse group of individuals. Aside from the wonderful hospital staff, the people who stuck with me the most are the children who were also in hospital for their own variety of treatments and surgeries.

From toddlers through to young adults like myself, they were all incredible in the face of adversity. Losing your sight in any capacity is not only hard to live with, it is incredibly scary. But each of these children and their families would smile, laugh and even joke about their own individual situations. It allowed me a unique insight into the world of people who are visually impaired at a young age.”


The Challenge

“In June 2020 I am running 230km through the Amazon Rainforest in Peru over 5 days. This is a self-sufficient race meaning that other than water, which is provided, I have to carry all of my supplies for the full 5 days including my hammock, all food, all medical supplies, navigation equipment, clothing, spare shoes, sleeping bag….and anything else you can imagine to survive 5 days in the rainforest.

I have done some long races before, but this is a whole other world. I have been training since last year – I just need to work out how to train for 30-degree heat, 90% humidity, river-crossings, insects that can kill, oh and also running 230km!”

You can watch a short trailer about the challenge here.

The Impact

Every day 4 children will be diagnosed as either being blind or severely vision impaired. Matt already knows the struggle that follows this diagnosis. He is now helping RSBC be there to support children and young adults through this time. RSBC works with the whole family to ensure they know that this diagnosis doesn’t take away your opportunities in life – we work to break down barriers so every blind child can live a life without limits!

“It’s always been on my agenda to do a challenge and try in some small way to benefit the Royal Society for Blind Children. I know better than most just how much that support can mean for these children and their families now, and through into their adult lives.”

If you want to support Matt, you can donate to his JustGiving page here.