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Walking the Width of Wales – raising funds for Velindre Cancer Centre

We’re trekking o’er the green green grass of home for Velindre Cancer Centre because we have to act against this cruel disease

In a time of global pandemics, lockdown, fear and uncertainty; a vast amount of healthcare provision is struggling to cope. The necessary COVID regulations are creating longer waiting lists for regular outpatient and diagnostic appointments. In our opinion there could not be a worse time to receive news of serious illness.

Sadly, this is exactly what happened to a close family member of our Commercial Director, Nathan Farmer. Nathan’s sister-in-law Abbie is 28 years old, a primary school teacher and a truly wonderful Auntie to his two children. Having tragically lost an entire ovary due to an aggressive cyst 4 years ago, the shocking news of another cyst on her last remaining ovary simply devastated her.


Abbie’s story

In Abbie’s own words:

I’d started to experience some pains again, this for me was one of the biggest signs of a cyst. Unfortunately, due to COVID it took almost a year to get an appointment. To be honest, by the time I was having the scan I had gotten so used to the dull aches again that I had almost forgotten about it.

Between scan, referral and consultation there was about 4 weeks. The cyst had gone from the size of a grapefruit to over double this and I was so uncomfortable in my own skin. My whole belly was incredibly sore but even at this point cancer wasn’t something I had even considered.


Once the urgency of Abbie’s situation had become apparent, medical staff acted quickly to organise diagnostics and surgery for her, but COVID rules still required a 2-week isolation period pre-op. It was during this period that the cyst ruptured, flooding Abbie’s abdomen with approximately 3 litres of fluid. Abbie was rushed into A&E, given emergency surgery and biopsies were taken as a precaution.

3 weeks later, Abbie was given the devasting news of the biopsy testing positive for ovarian cancer. The nature of the cyst and the fact it ruptured led to the decision to start Abbie with Chemotherapy at Velindre Cancer Centre.

Velindre is a specialist cancer treatment centre in South Wales, that is also one of the largest in the UK with over 5,000 new referrals and 50,000 new outpatient appointments each year.

Cancer has affected all of us in some way or another. Sadly, it’s not just ‘one of those things that happens to other people’, and when it hits close to home, it can be devastating for those diagnosed and for the people that love them. But sometimes it takes a lightning strike right on the doorstep, for us to remember how important our support for places like Velindre Cancer Centre really is.

Abbie’s resolve has inspired us – what she’s having to do, well we can only imagine the inner strength it would need. But what we can do, is push ourselves in our own way in solidarity with Abbie and all of the other people who are fighting a battle against cancer.


Our challenge

That’s why we’ve decided that in April/May, we’re going to walk the width of Wales, from the English border all the way to the Irish Sea!

What will it entail?

Over the course of two days, our intrepid explorers will ‘free hike’ across Wales. The journey involves:

  • a total distance of 60+ miles (approx. 100km), or
  • 170,000 individual steps…
  • traversing the rough and rugged terrain of Powys (a wind-swept, hard, barren and unforgiving landscape)
  • dealing with the unpredictable April weather (sun, rain, maybe snow?)
  • all whilst carrying food and supplies, including tent, weighing 15lbs – that’s more than a stone!
  • and finally all of the above to be completed within 2 days!


Who are the trekkers?

Our madcap adventurers all hail from Innovate Tax, from our Wales office. Native Welshmen and Welshwomen, each of the team has had some degree of connection with Velindre Cancer Centre before.

Rallying to the cause are:

  • Nathan Farmer
  • Sam Thomas
  • Harry Porter
  • Kyron Smith

Each is committed to completing this monumental hike across the peaks and troughs of the beautiful Welsh countryside, come rain or shine.

Please show your support for our ‘trekkers’ by donating any amount you can, it all helps.



Go Innovate Trekkers!