A college learner from the south Wales valleys has helped raise Â£12k for Velindre Cancer Centre after taking part in a fundraising trek across the ancient kingdom of Nepal in aid of the organisation.
Eighteen-year-old Jake Phillips, from Miskin, Rhondda Cynon Taf, took part in a five-day hike across mountainous and remote land in the region to raise money for the Centre.
Taking on the challenge with his father, Simon, Jake wanted to thank the Centre for the outstanding support and treatment it had provided to a member of his family over the last year.
Joining 50 other trekkers for the trip, the pair spent 6-8 hours trekking through steep and rough conditions every single day.
The engineering learner, who is studying a Level 3 Certificate in Engineering at Coleg y Cymoedd, found out about the trek through comedian Rhod Gilbert, who is a family friend and patron for the Velindre Cancer Centre.
Speaking about his motivation to join the trek, Jake said: â€œVelindre provided amazing support for my family through a very difficult time and we wanted to give something back to them for all of the hard work they do. When we learnt about the trek, we felt it was the perfect way to raise money for the Centre and to show how thankful we are.â€
To prepare themselves for the challenge lying ahead, Jake and Simon completed numerous treks in the months leading up to the trip away. That included visits to the Brecon Beacons, carrying out walks of various lengths and steepness, and climbing South Walesâ€™ highest mountain, Pen Y Fan, several times. The pair also joined the gym to work on their fitness, with a focus on improving their endurance.
When discussing the most challenging elements of the trip, Jake said: â€œTrekking was already a hobby for both of us, but weâ€™d never taken on anything like this. The intense Nepalese heat was an element that was hard to prepare for and definitely made the walk more difficult, especially combined with having to carry heavy bags for the duration of the trek.
â€œA highlight of the trip was when we reached a breath-taking valley. At the beginning of the trek we were each given a colourful Nepalese prayer flag and we all decided to tie them together and hang them across the valley. It was a very emotional moment and reminded us all of why we were there and the worthy cause behind the trek.â€
Jake and his father have raised Â£12,000 for Velindre Cancer Centre, which will go towards funding the vital treatment that it provides for cancer patients.
Jake now plans to participate in more trips organised by the centre and hopes to continue fundraising for cancer research.
Rhondda Cynon Taff
Heol y Coleg
Rhondda Cynon Taff