When doctors gave Jon Matthews 6 months to live after he was diagnosed with a rare form of lung cancer known as mesothelioma, the 58-year-old native of Milton Keynes, UK made a bet. The former car dealer went to famed sportsbook William Hill and made a £100 bet at 50-1 that he would beat the survival odds significantly.
The bet was placed in April of 2006 and on June 1, 2008, Jon Matthews, alive and kicking, collected his £5,000.
In what is a notoriously cruel business, even William Hill was pleased to come out the loser – the following came from media relations director of William Hill, Graham Sharp:
We have never been asked to accept a bet of this nature before, but as Jon approached us directly and was adamant that it would give him an additional incentive to battle his illness, we offered him the bet he wanted.
Never, in 30 years in the business, have I been so pleased to pay a winning client £5,000.
For his part, Matthews has stated that half of his winnings will go to the Macmillan cancer charity. However,
The other half I'm going to spend on myself – booze and fags probably – I don't have anything to lose.
The other thing I've always wanted to do is a bungee jump
Mr. Matthews has now survived for 25 months, more than a year and a half beyond his initial six month death sentence. While his success is rare, it is not unprecedented. Famed deceased blogger, Steve Dunn survived the 6-month mesothelioma death sentence by 14 years.