Jon Matthews, 59 from Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer associated with exposure to asbestos, in 2006. He was told that he only had months to live. While most would give in to despair, Matthews placed two bets each with a £100 stake at odds of 50/1, that he would be alive in June 2008 and in June 2009, reports the BBC
He has already placed a wager that he would live to see June 1, 2010, this time at odds of 100/1. But for now, he pockets £5,000, his winnings on the second bet. Mr. Matthews said,
"I think I'm the first person in the world to bet on my own life. When I was diagnosed I was told mesothelioma was a death sentence. I wasn't that fussed because everyone has to die some time. But the interesting thing for me was how long it would take - would it take weeks or years?"
William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe was quoted as saying,
“We had 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 bets he wanted.”
“Never in 30 years in the business have I been so pleased to pay a winning client £10,000, with, I trust, a further £10,000 to come next year."
The unusual bettor plans to give most of his winnings to charities, including the Macmillian Cancer Support charity.
“Do we want him to win the third bet? You bet!”