Nine-year-old Matteo Lambert wants to help children battling cancer, so he's running across the US and Canada to raise money for them.
At only nine years old, Matteo Lambert from Vienna, Virginia has already raced 120 miles in order to raise thousands of dollars for children with cancer. Running across both the United States and Canada, Matteo has managed to raise $65,000 for sick children. He began his journey at seven years old when he participated in his first-ever 5K race and just hasn't stopped running. The motivation to help children battling cancer perhaps comes from his attachment to his grandfather, who is a prostate cancer survivor. Now, Matteo hopes to run even more races and raise even more money for those in need, Fox 10 reports.
In an interview with Fox 10, Matteo's father Brandon Lambert stated, "It was pretty clear that at seven, he not only enjoyed it, but he was pretty good at it." Matteo participated in a race for prostate cancer in June 2017, during which he won a prize for second place in his age group. But he wasn't in it to win it. According to his dad, he wasn't interested in the award at all. Brandon recalled, "I turned to him and said, ‘Hey buddy, you have to stick around and get your medal. He turned to me, completely unprompted, and said, ‘It’s okay, Daddy. We can leave. This isn't about awards. It's about helping other people.'"
With this in mind, Brandon decided to connect his son to Len Forkas, the founder of Hopecam, a nonprofit organization established with the goal of overcoming "the social isolation experienced by children in treatment for cancer." They achieve this through their online video software, helping children in the hospital for cancer treatment stay connected to their friends and classmates. Forkas, like Matteo, is a racer himself and has completed Race Across America, a coast-to-coast bicycle race, twice. The nine-year-old thus set an initial goal of running 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) and raising $5000 at the beginning of 2019. However, he achieved his goal by his second race and realized he would need a new goal.
In 2019 alone, Matteo has taken part in 35 races across 15 states in the US and Canada. His races have given him lots of memorable experiences as well. For example, at a 5K in Chicago, the young boy met Cubs first basemen Anthony Rizzo, also a Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor, and asked him for a “moonshot.” At the next game, he ended up hitting a grand slam, winning the match against the San Diego Padres. After the game, the basemen stated, "That was for him." Additionally, Matteo was even recognized by former Vice President Joe Biden, who him a letter commending him for all his efforts to make the world a better place.
Now, Matteo plans to do even more to help those in need. With the aid of his family and the Core Foundation, he has established the Off The Charts Club, an organization that "develops the caring spirit of youth to aid, comfort, and empower their peers battling cancer." The nine-year-old plans to visit children at various hospitals while traveling for races and, in addition to that, hopes to publish an inspirational children’s book. While visiting these hospitals, Matteo wants to conduct readings and hand the book out to patients. He really is a true beacon of hope for many. According to his dad, he's also a pretty great son. "He’s kind of the adult in the house," Brandon said. "He’s been a very easy child to parent. Matteo has just always wanted to help people who are less fortunate." If you'd like to donate to his cause, you can do so right here.