The Mad Hatters Dinner Party for the Velindre Cancer Centre
Each year, more and more people have the confidence to come forward with their own (sometimes crazy) fundraising ideas. Turning these ideas into an actual event definitely involves determination, planning, negotiation and hard work. Last week, we spoke to Dan and Alex, who are raising money for the Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff. Today, we are sharing their amazing story with you.
The two friends, who have a shared passion for mountains and travel, first met on a climbing trip in Mallorca. Last December, they set themselves the challenge to organise a dinner party on top of Pen y Fan: South Wales’ highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons National Park (886m). The dinner will be taking place on the 2nd of June 2018 and only 4 lucky adventurers will be able to sit around the table. The challenge is this. Dan and Alex will carry all the necessary equipment needed to make this happen. That means: marquee, table, chairs, cooker, food and more, all the way to the top and will then cook a full dinner for 4 people. Although you can’t all sit at the table, you are invited to join the adventure and show your support to them as they embark on this crazy dinner party.
Dan « I’ve always enjoyed the wonders of being out in the wild. Early on in my twenties, I got in to climbing at Avon Vally Mountaineering Club. I met some great people who ”showed me the ropes” so to say! Ever since I’ve been out in the hills across the UK and overseas climbing, trekking and mountaineering with friends, groups and solo. »
Alex « I’ve always loved the outdoors, whether it be camping, climbing or walking in the hills. This love came at a young age from my parents. My mum and dad have travelled all over the world, climbing mountains but as with all people from South Wales, their first was Pen y Fan. »
What does your chosen charity mean to you?
Dan: My uncle has battled with cancer a number of times, and he has got the all clear from it now. So I’ve always had respect for the people that helped him and this is the same for the staff at the Velindre Cancer Centre. They are doing such good work there and I just want them to know that.
Alex: In December 2015, six months after my mum and dad summited Mount Kilimanjaro, my mum was rushed into hospital with stomach pains. It turned out that these were symptoms of advanced colon cancer – a massive shock to us all. After having an operation to remove the tumour she was referred to Velindre Hospital as an outpatient for chemotherapy treatment and has been having treatment on and off there ever since. My first experience there took my breath away, just how far reaching cancer was and how it affects those of all ages and walks of life. There were so many people there to be treated but everyone was working tirelessly to make sure everything ran smoothly. Along with the health professionals, there were volunteers making everyone’s visit as pleasant as it could be. The majority of volunteers had themselves been helped by the Centre in some way in the past. Having arrived at Velindre feeling daunted by what was ahead we left feeling comforted by the level of care received.
What motivated you to start fundraising?
Dan: Life is all about the challenges you face, sometimes you can set your own challenges and other are made for you. So Alex and I were talking about setting ourselves a challenge to help those that don’t have a choice.
Alex: My main motivation was the strength and bravery that my mum has shown throughout her treatment. She has been so incredible. Everyone that knows her believes her big outdoor spirit, fitness, zest for life and positivity have helped her massively during her cancer treatment. It might seem crazy to a lot of people that we plan to cook a dinner up on the top of Pen y Fan, I thought so myself initially and then I got a reality check by the means of mum sending a photo of her up Pen y Fan mid chemotherapy course. My mum makes the impossible seem possible and has inspired me to believe the same.
Where did the idea of having a dinner party come from?
Dan: It’s quite hard to pin point this idea exactly. If you speak to Alex he’d say I’m always coming up with ideas like this! But we both liked this one.
Alex: Since knowing Dan, I have always been interested in hearing of his latest adventures. One day I received a phone call and Dan explained that he’d always wanted to have a three course meal at the top of Pen y Fan – not just a roast dinner, the full works! Dan’s plan was to cater for a number of people in a formal dining setting right on top of Pen y Fan. After laughing at the madness of the idea, I thought it would be pretty awesome if not a crazy challenge. With me completely on board to help realise Dan’s idea, ‘The Mad Hatter’s tea party’ was born. Not only will this be a personal challenge to us, it also will benefit a charity particularly close to our heart.
Why this particular location?
Dan: We both love the Brecon Beacons and each of us have walked and run over these mountains for years. Who wouldn’t want to have a dinner party on top of the highest mountain in South Wales and basically my back yard?
Alex: We have lost count the number of times we have been up there together, not just in the fair weather but also embracing the torrential rain and blizzards. It is a place we know and love.
What are the next steps?
Dan: The positive reactions we are getting from people and businesses we speak to about this challenge are amazing. So we will expand on this and continue to raise awareness of what we are doing by having collection days outside the Brecon Beacons and Neath Abbey Co-Op and Tesco.
Alex: We are hoping to have support from some businesses around the South Wales area. Skewen Cooker Supplies have already kindly donated an oven for the challenge and Co-Op Food in Brecon have offered to donate the ingredients for the main course.
To support Dan and Alex in their amazing challenge, donate as much as you can, like and share their Facebook page to raise awareness and buy a seat at the table (more info on their Facebook page). All money raised will be going directly to the Velindre Cancer Centre.
The Velindre Cancer Centre provides specialist cancer services to over 1.5 million people in South East Wales and beyond. They are one of the largest cancer centres in the UK. Each year over 5,000 new referrals and around 50,000 new outpatient appointments are seen by them. As well as specialist Oncology and Palliative training, the Velindre Cancer Centre also provides training for cancer nurses, pharmacists, medical physicists and provides clinical placements for therapeutic radiography students from the University of Wales College of Medicine. For more information, please visit the Velindre Cancer Centre website.
Until next adventure.
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