Matt and Lorna joined C2Cycling in 2017. Matt cycled to Paris that year, and again in 2019, joining 22 riders to raise precious funds for Velindre Cancer Centre, a charity that supports patients and families in the most difficult of times.
But 12 months later their world was turned upside down as their own family faced what would turn out to be a devastating and ultimately tragic experience.
This is Matt and Lorna’s story:
“C2E 2022 takes on an extra special significance for me and my family as this time we will also be raising money for LATCH Welsh Children’s Cancer Charity."
“2020 was the most horrific year for us as we lost our youngest son Rhys after a short illness. In May, Rhys was diagnosed with Aplastic Anaemia, a rare blood disorder that prevents the body producing enough blood cells. At seven years old, Rhys was a funny, caring and happy child who enjoyed football, rugby and playing with his friends and dogs Buster & Pip. This should not have been happening."
“Rhys required a bone marrow transplant and remarkably a donor was found in his brother Hywel and this obviously gave us great hope. However, time was not on our side and on 22nd June 2020, just one month later, Rhys lost his battle and very sadly passed away, leaving the whole family absolutely devastated.
“Cardiff-based children’s cancer charity LATCH was there for us throughout this most traumatic period and continue to be now. It is one thing seeing from a distance, but it is not until it affects you directly that you realise what an incredible job these people do."
“C2E 2022 is not only going to be a tough challenge physically, but mentally also, and whilst I’m sure there will be plenty of tears along the way it will be worth if we can reach our target for these fantastic charities."
“We have previously raised in excess of £40,000 which is amazing and I’m sure the money will have made a significant impact on the lives of people who needed it most."
“Thank you for your support. It means the world to us.”
Almost every team member has a story relating to either family or friends that have been affected by cancer and supported by the wonderful Velindre Cancer Centre Team. One in two people will be affected by cancer at some time in their lives. This is the harsh reality that underpins the need for facilities like Velindre.
Velindre Cancer Centre provides specialist cancer services to over 1.5 million people in South Wales and beyond. They are one of the largest cancer centres in the UK seeing over 5,000 new referrals and around 50,000 new outpatients every year.
More people than ever are living with cancer and survival rates have doubled in the last 40 years through better treatments and earlier detection.
Velindre is funded in part by Velindre University NHS Trust but relies heavily on charitable giving to pay for ground-breaking research and clinical trials, cutting edge treatments, specialist nurses, support services, therapies and equipment.
Latch is the Welsh children’s cancer charity which supports children and their families who are being treated by the Oncology Unit at the Children’s Hospital of Wales.
Around 70 new cases are diagnosed every year and Latch supports those affected families from across the whole of Wales.
Latch is entirely dependent on fundraising and needs over £700,000 a year to provide families with the range of services they need once their child has been diagnosed.
The charity provides a range of services to support families at this difficult time and is probably most well-known for its on-site accommodation allowing families to stay together while their child is being treated.
They also provide counselling and social support services for parents and siblings, financial support for families, benefits advice, advocacy, and sign posting.
The work they do is vital for families facing one of the toughest challenges of their life.