Matt Golinski

Reporter: Jackie Quist

They are three men on a single journey; three mates each beating insurmountable odds.

Burns survivor Grazi Lisciotto is one of many helping guide Matt Golinski through the indescribable aftermath of losing his wife Rachael and their three young daughters, Starlia, Willow and Sage -- all killed when the celebrity chef's Queensland home was razed on Boxing Day 2011.

Matt somehow surviving third degree burns to 40% of his body. He claims the support of a nation gave him the will to carry on. "It has been incredible. It blew my mind actually to be honest when I did wake up from after eight weeks and you know it was a tough time, people started telling me what was going on around me, it was like wow", Matt said.

Grazi, myself and Matt, we're all plus 40% burns so we're in the high bracket. I guess we're going to hurt a lot there's no doubt about it, but we won't show it", said Bali bombing survivor Peter Hughes.

Peter is another good mate who has supported Grazi, Matt and 200 other burns survivors through his Peter Hughes Burns Foundation. He's trained hard for his first ever marathon -- the Cape to Cape -- one he hopes will raise money and awareness for the Foundation, enabling it to stage retreats for burns victims. "I come out of the Bali bombings and I got very well looked after -- I still do now for that matter. With the people that are on-going, to hospitals, that are not heard of and they're the silent people, they come out and they're the ones who need the support, so hopefully we can give that", Peter said.

Peter, Grazi and Matt are tackling the rugged course in Western Australia's Margaret River region as a relay. They are being geed on by three friends who are also Foundation sponsors, one being Perth businessman Ryan Crawford who is running the entire 135 km track. "It's really difficult, I mean we're struggling, bits we're really having trouble dealing with and these boys are gearing up and stepping up and keeping up with us -- we're all working though it as a team", Ryan said.

It is beautiful, rugged and intense. The soft white sand is agonising on tired legs; the Cape Leeuwin to Cape Naturaliste track is one of the longest ultra-marathon runs in the country.

On day one and after taking a tumble, Peter says he's cracked some ribs and broken a finger. "That's from not watching where I'm going and trying to keep up with young fellas", he said.

Grazi's delicate, scarred skin is painfully blistered. He suffered 65% burns in a house fire 10 years ago and it's in part thanks to Peter that Foundation Executive Grazi is no longer a recluse. His ankles, knees and hips scream in pain as he seeks to prove there is a full life to be lived after burns.

Only Matt Golinski seems, still smiling, loving every minute -- not impeded even by his fire damaged lungs. "The breathing part of it doesn't seem to really bother me. I guess my main considerations are that I don't have the sweat glands that I used to, like I can't sweat form certain parts of my body or where I've been grafted I can't sweat, so I've just got to be careful of that. It is generally fine because I just sweat more through the other bits", Matt said.

Despite surgeons predicting he'd be in hospital for eight months, Matt walked out after four. He credits physiotherapist and personal trainer Erin Yarwood with helping him back on his feet -- she has been his rock and her tireless support helping him to keep going.

"I'm pretty much back to where I was. I had issues with heart rate and all that because of a raised metabolism but I built up to that. When I first came out of hospital I could run for about two mins", Matt said.

"I guess for me being a runner already that was my main focus from the start. I was like well I want to get back to running as soon as I possibly can", he added.

Matt says being fit has helped save his life. "I think so. That's something they debate; sometimes they say that if you out of shape and everything you've got a bit more weight to lose and everything else. I went from being 82 kilos and quite fit to being 60 kilos when I woke up in hospital so I lost 22 kilos and I couldn't walk, I had no muscle tone, I had nothing", Matt said.

While Matt awaits further surgery for calcified elbows, he's enjoying being back in the kitchen. "I cook a lot. I'm working on a book at the moment so that's my big focus until they do operate on me. I figured I might as well do this book that I've been talking about for 20 years -- its time. I've got no excuses any more", Matt said.

For eight years Matt was a regular on the cooking show Ready Steady Cook, becoming one of Australia's best loved and best known celebrity chefs. "That's where George, Gary, Adrian Richardson, and Manu you know, all those people started on that show and got discovered", he said.

His smile and sense of humour intact, the terrible tragedy Matt has suffered remains his own private hell. "I'm doing the best I can. I take it day by day that's all you can do. I do have the love of the nation behind me and all the support and its great and I'm really appreciative of it, I've just got to focus on getting myself fit and healthy and keeping my mind healthy. Running has a lot to do with that as well, it does clear your head and keep that adrenaline rushing and the endorphins going and that's an important part of mentally staying happy and sane - that's the battle that I face at the moment", Matt said.

"His life's been turned upside down but he's given a lot back. He gave us a $33,000 donation because he saw the need for what we're doing. He's bought a car for this lady because her daughter couldn't get her to the hospital. He's the most generous person. You know the thing is burns change your life", Grazi said.

So too does conquering the Cape to Cape -- all 6 runners completed the gruelling task in only 23 hours.

"Honestly there was times when I said I'm going to quit and I didn't so I'm happy, proud of myself", Grazi said.

"I'm broken but you go back to when you were back in hospital, when you were having that surgery again and you think it was nothing, I got up and sucked it up and the boys helped me through", Peter said.

"Setting goals is an important part of your recovery so you know doing something like this is the next step in where your journey is taking you. So once you've achieved this, move on to the next thing. Next year I'll be back and I'll do the whole thing", Matt said.

For further information:

www.facebook.com/PeterHughesBurnFoundation/photos

The foundation website :

www.peterhughesburnfoundation.org.au

Link to the donations section :

www.peterhughesburnfoundation.org.au/about/donate-now/