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The battle through COVID-19 and cancer – Matt Bristow’s story

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2,900+ reviews
Posted on 5th December 2022.

Matt Bristow, Branch Care Manager for the Gloucester branch, kindly shared his inspiring story with us after he recently got engaged to his wonderful partner, Zoe.

Matt was diagnosed with stage 3 testicular cancer in September 2019. He had only been with Zoe for five months, and she nursed Matt through all his treatment. Matt was bed bound for eight months and was rushed to the hospital twice with sepsis. Through all this, Matt promised Zoe he would ask her to marry him when he was well again. Every day, Zoe travelled 100 miles from Hereford to Cheltenham to see him while working as a teacher for adults with learning difficulties and home-schooling her two children.

Zoe learnt to give Matt all his injections daily and sorted his medication. She continues to do this up to this day. She also learnt how to do his catheter care so Matt wouldn’t get exposed to COVID-19. This way, Matt could safely spend more time at home. Medical professionals wouldn’t inform Matt of any news unless Zoe was with him. He struggled with ‘cancer brain’. A common term used by cancer survivors to describe thinking and memory problems that can occur during and after cancer treatment. Matt explained that he couldn’t function without her, and she was his rock.

The proposal

Now Matt is in remission; while he still has regular scans and some forgetfulness, he has been able to move forward with his life with Zoe. Matt kept his promise to Zoe, and they recently got engaged.

Matt visited Prague a few times with his Dad after they lost his Mum.  They stood together on the King Charles Bridge one evening after dinner, where his Dad mentioned it would be the perfect place to propose. Three years later, Matt took Zoe to the very same spot and got on one knee to ask her to marry him, and her response was, “I have invested so much time and energy in keeping you alive; I have to get something back on my investment!” so Matt took that as a firm yes.

Matt explained that going through all of this with Zoe made his relationship solid, and nothing can phase them now. Congratulations to you both!

A real inspiration

Matt interviewed for the Branch Care Manager role at Helping Hands on the edge of his bed during his recovery. Customers always feel at ease with Matt; he can build effective relationships through shared experiences. His inspiring journey contributes to what makes him an incredible Branch Care Manager, and we are thankful to have him as part of the Helping Hands family.

Jaskiran Jutla Content Writer
About Jaskiran has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Film & TV Studies and has written for a variety of national publications, including Woman magazine, Bella, Total TV Guide and TV Choice. Read Jaskiran's full profile