A group of Tŷ Hafan dads and uncles have announced their latest breath-taking fundraising challenge. Between 2 and 4 July 2020, a team will climb ten Welsh mountains and then cycle 52 miles from Brecon to Cardiff along the Taff Trail. However, this must be completed in a maximum of 55 hours. This new challenge is called the #10nTaff.
The Tŷ Hafan dads and uncles have a reputation for taking part in crazy challenges to raise awareness of and funds for Tŷ Hafan. In 2016, dads were photographed naked on Sully Beach for the 2017 #DadsBareAll calendar. In July 2018, twenty dads, uncles, staff and sponsors took on the #5in55 challenge, climbing five of the highest mountains in the UK in 52 hours. The team raised over £40,000 and their achievement was recognised by Just Giving who awarded them the 2018 Team Fund Raiser of the Year.
These madcap challenges help the dads and uncles as they struggle to deal with having a child with a life-limiting illness. The group is comprised of dads and uncles with children presently being cared for by Tŷ Hafan, young people who have been discharged, and also those who have sadly passed away. The group of men find that training and then taking on the challenge is doing something that actually makes a difference whilst helping the charity that supported their families. The challenges also provide the opportunity for participants to talk with others and share their experiences and concerns. It is therapy and extreme exercise in one.
The latest #10nTaff challenge was dreamt up by Chris Thomas, Brad Watson, and Paul Fears. All three were part of the team that completed the 2018 #5in55 challenge. The trio decided that the 2020 biennial challenge needed to be tougher than the #5in55. They also wanted the challenge to stretch right across Wales reflecting the extent of the support provided by Tŷ Hafan.
The preliminary schedule for the #10nTaff is brutal. After driving up to North Wales on Wednesday 1 July, the team prepare themselves for three days of almost non-stop physical exertion.
Late in the evening of day one, the team is driven down to the Black Mountains in West Wales. After a few hours rest, at dawn on 3 July (day two) they begin their assault on the five highest mountains in the Brecon Beacons. These are:
After completing the second stage of the challenge, the team plan to rest in Brecon overnight on day two before the final part of the challenge. At dawn on 4 July (day three), the team will start the seven-hour, 52-mile cycle ride from Brecon to Cardiff Bay along the Taff Trail.
“The schedule means that sleep may be limited to the minibus on the night of day one,” said Chris. “With such early starts and late finishes, sleep deprivation could be an issue.”
Five years ago, Chris and Clair’s daughter Scarlett was born struggling to breathe and was rushed to intensive care. After a few weeks Scarlett was diagnosed with a rare life-limiting chromosome disorder. This resulted in Scarlett having visual and hearing impairment, epilepsy, poor swallow, central hypertonia, hole in her heart, scoliosis of the spine, kidney problems and muscle atrophy of her brain.
“As you can imagine our whole world came crashing down around us,” explained Chris. “At this point Tŷ Hafan came into our lives giving us the help and support we needed on our amazing journey as a family.”
Brad’s son Archie died aged two, in 2013, of a rare genetic condition. Concerns about Archie’s health were not recognised until he was about nine months old. Archie was not hitting certain developmental milestones and was also having seizures; which Brad thought was epilepsy. Following countless tests and scans, doctors broke the news that Archie had an incurable condition. He was diagnosed with Tay-Sachs Disease.
“The challenge is tough, but families with children who have life-limiting illnesses face tougher challenges every day,” explained Brad. “After walking with the team last year, I have no doubt that the group will succeed. Failure is not an option.”
“It’s a crazy challenge,” said Paul. “Our aim is to raise awareness of Tŷ Hafan and other children’s hospices, whilst raising money for an amazing charity. All we’ve got to do is climb ten mountains and cycle 52 miles in under 55 hours. What could be easier?”
Paul’s son Greg and his family stayed at Tŷ Hafan up until Greg was nineteen years-old. Greg is now twenty-eight and is struggling with the advanced stages of pulmonary hypertension, a life-limited condition that affects the heart and lungs. Despite being discharged from Tŷ Hafan, the family still gets support from the charity.
The #10nTaff challenge is split into five sections for sponsorship purposes:
Section 1: Carnedd Llewellyn, Carnedd Dafydd and Glyder Fawr (Carneddau and Glyderau ranges)
Section 2: Garnedd Ugain and Snowdon (Snowdon Massif)
Section 3: Fan Brydeiniog and Fan Bir (Brecon Beacons Black Mountains)
Section 4: Waun Rydd, Pen-y-Fan and Cribyn (Central Brecon Beacons)
Section 5: Taff Trail Cycle Challenge
Companies or groups of companies are invited to sponsor a section for £2,500. Sponsorship includes the supply of specially branded shirts for the team to wear whilst completing that section. For more details, contact Paul at email@example.com
“The support we had on the #5in55 challenge was incredible,” said Chris. “It was inspirational and drove us on when we were going through some tough times. We hope that we get similar support for the #10nTaff.”
To support the Dads and Uncles taking on the #10nTaff challenge, follow their team Twitter page @5in55, the hashtags below and donate via their team JustGiving page!
#10nTaff #DadsMatter #5in55 #mentalhealth