Cancer bet man dies

11 May 2010, 17:17 | Updated: 11 May 2010, 18:15

A man from Milton Keynes - who bet he could outlive the prognosis he was given for terminal cancer - has died.

Jon Matthews - from Woburn Sands - was diagnosed with Mesothelioma - which is a cancer linked to asbestos - in April 2006. He was told he wouldn't live for more than a few months, but was determined to beat his doctor's prediction.

So Mr Matthews put a bet on with William Hill that he could survive until June 2008. He put a £100 stake on with odds of 50/1 and won £5,000.

He then picked up another £5,000 in June last year, after putting down a bet of the same amount and same odds.

Mr Matthews had a third and final wager - of £100 at 100/1 - which would have seen him collect £10,000 if he's survived until June 1st this year.

Mr Matthews died last Monday.

Graham Sharp, who took the bet for William Hill, said it had given Mr Matthews an incentive to fight the disease:

"I was very sad when I heard he'd died. I'd been in touch with Jon since he placed the bet and and I'm just delighted that it gave him so much fun and enjoyment.

"When he first approached us about it I was in two minds and thought we'd be accused of doing something in bad taste. But it gave him an incentive to keep on battling through the disease.

"I was delighted to pay out the £5,000 twice.''

He described Mr Matthews as a very positive man who had given much of his winnings to charity but spent some of them on enjoying himself - smoking, drinking and betting on horses and dogs.

Mr Matthews donated some of his winnings to Hula Animal Shelter in Aspley Guise and to MacMillan Cancer Support.

Mr Sharp added: "He proved that what is often dispiriting news from a doctor doesn't necessarily mean you can't make the most of the time you've got left.''

Mr Matthews said last year: "I think I'm the first person in the world to bet on my own life.''

He added that the longest doctors at Harefield Hospital in Middlesex had heard of anyone surviving mesothelioma after diagnosis was 25 months.