Heidi Perkins, a flood risk consultant from Bedwas, is running the Cardiff Half Marathon for Tŷ Hafan, in memory of her nephew Matthew who sadly passed away when he was just seven weeks old.

Matthew was born in July 2023 by emergency C-section after a midwife was concerned with his growth.

Heidi said: “Throughout my sister Caroline’s pregnancy everything looked fine. But at 38 weeks her midwife wanted to send her for some more scans as the growth of her bump wasn’t looking right. The scans detected there was something wrong with Matthew’s heart and an emergency C-section was planned for the next couple of days.”

Matthew was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy – a disease of the heart muscle. Matthew needed to spend the next three weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit at the University Hospital of Wales, before going to Tŷ Hafan.

Heidi said: “They did as much as they could for him in NICU. But we were told his only option was to have a heart transplant, and he was far too young for the procedure.

“The main problem was that he was growing and his heart couldn’t keep up. There wasn’t anything more that could be done for him at that point and the only option from there was to take him to Tŷ Hafan to make him as comfortable as possible.”

Making Memories

Bringing Matthew to Tŷ Hafan enabled Caroline and her partner Joey to care for him with the help of the nurses onsite and enable them to make precious memories as a family.

While Caroline and Joey stayed onsite with Matthew, Heidi together with her mum, Joanne, dad, David, and younger sister, Kate, would visit them as much as possible.

She said: “Tŷ Hafan were wonderful. The fantastic garden right by the sea, enabled us to take him out in his pushchair and walk him around the grounds, and read to him every day, making some lovely memories. The care Tŷ Hafan provided to Matthew was amazing and they were always on hand whenever Caroline and Joey needed them.”

However, sadly in August 2023 when Matthew was just seven weeks old his body couldn’t take anymore.

The family held a small funeral and cremation. They planted trees in their farm with his ashes and also created a memorial garden to remember him by.

Heidi said: “It’s been really tough, but the whole family is there for each other and we’re all helping each other through this difficult time.”

Keep on running

Heidi will now be taking on the Principality Cardiff Half Marathon on Sunday 6th October to raise money for Tŷ Hafan. She’ll be running with her boyfriend, Tom, and friends, Menna and Euan.

She said: “I’ve never done a run in my life, but Matthew was a fighter and I wanted to do something that would be a huge challenge for me, to raise money in his memory. It’s also important to me to help Tŷ Hafan continue with being able to provide incredible support to families going through such a difficult time.”

James Davies-Hale, Head of Fundraising for Tŷ Hafan, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Heidi for committing to run this year’s Cardiff Half Marathon in memory of Matthew and indeed to everyone who has signed up to do the Cardiff Half for Tŷ Hafan. Thanks to you, we will be able to help more children like Matthew and their families.”


We echo James’ words and our thanks and well wishes go to Heidi and her co-runners!

For those looking to run the extra mile at the Principality Cardiff Half Marathon and to help make sure that that no family faces the unimaginable loss of a child without the care and support they need, we still have discounted spaces available for only £10.

Those up for the challenge can sign up today or call or email our Supporter Care Team on 02920 532 255 or supportercare@tyhafan.org for more information and to secure your place.


Cardiff half marathon ty hafan