One of late cancer campaigner Irfon Williams’ closest friends is set to lead a group on their monumental charity fundraiser in his honour.
Father of five Mr Williams, who passed away in May, had gained a reputation throughout Wales for his defiance in his battle against cancer.
The 47-year-old was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2014, but despite his illness he had worked tirelessly with charities to raise money and campaigned for the right for patients in Wales to get access to a drug called Cetuximab which treats colon and rectal cancer.
Now, one of his childhood friends, Alan Owen, who is also 47 and had known Irfon since their school days, has set himself his next fundraising challenge which is to walk Snowdonia’s highest 15 peaks twice in just 30 hours.
Along with friends Stephen Edwards, Phil Jones, Gwyn Griffiths, Hannah Hughes, Dewi Ferrero and Welsh TV presenter and marathon runner Lowri Morgan, the team hope that they can complete the challenge between July 26 and 27.
They will be climbing the likes of Carnedd Ugain, Elidir Fawr and Tryfan during their epic journey and will be stopping for food at certain points, as well as a change of clothes if necessary.
Farmer Gareth Jones, famed for his recent appearances on his own TV series on BBC, will be joining the group at Foel Fras near Llanfairfechan to supply them with food.
The climbing will eventually culminate in a return to Snowdon’s peak.
The gruelling challenge aims to raise awareness of Awyr Las and #TeamIrfon, and raise funds for Hospice at Home Gwynedd & Anglesey.
Alan, who lives in Bangor and works at the University’s Canolfan Brailsford, has been involved in many fundraising activities for local cancer charities over the years, including running the gruelling Snowdon Marathon six times in six consecutive days and running around 112 miles of the Anglesey Coastal Path in 24 hours.
However, he explained that this year’s challenge will be even closer to his heart as he aims to raise money in memory of his friend. Speaking ahead of the event he said: “I do feel that there is even more of a reason for me to do this challenge ever since Irfon passed away as he was a truly great man that did everything he could to raise awareness of the effects of cancer.
“I started off doing these challenges on my own about three years ago, but now every time I do a new one, more and more people are signing up to help me raise money and it’s great to see.
“To give you an idea of just how tough it’s going to be; we’ve worked out that this challenge is the equivalent of travelling 56 miles in 30 hours, or going up and down Everest twice. It will be tough of course, but we are all looking forward to it!”
So far, Alan has managed to raise over £20,000 for the #TeamIrfon and the #HawliFyw campaigns by taking part in a number of gruelling physical challenges, including the Wales Ironman Triathlon and the London Marathon.
He is currently busy preparing for his 30 in 30 challenge by walking 100 miles over the course of this month, of which he has already completed 85.
To sponsor Alan ahead of his latest challenge visit www.justgiving.com /fundraising and search for Stephen Edwards.