AN AMBULANCE Service Head is taking on an Arctic adventure challenge for charity.
Darren Panniers, Head of Service in South East Wales at the Welsh Ambulance Service, will be attempting a 100km journey across the Arctic in snowshoes.
The adventure will see Darren and the team crossing frozen lakes, skirting ancient glaziers, visiting villages of the indigenous Sami people and will hopefully end in a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
With a team of 16 people, Darren will attempt to cover the distance in seven days to raise money for Velindre Cancer Centre, which has provided specialist treatment and supportive care to cancer patients and families for over 65 years.
Darren said: “My father received fantastic treatment and support for both prostate and bowel cancer from Velindre, and it has been the catalyst and drive for me to raise as much money as possible for the charity.
“When I saw the ‘Arctic Blast Challenge’, which is run by Venture to Victory, I immediately wanted to participate.
“It combines my love of the cold weather environment with fundraising.
“Even though I have spent time in the Arctic, it was over 30 years ago when I was in the Marines, so I’m looking forward to going back there.
“It will be a massive challenge, especially as I’ve never walked through the snow in snowshoes before.”
Venture to Victory was set up seven years ago by Simon Ford to fundraise for Velindre Cancer Centre following a personal loss to cancer.
Darren continued: “We will be aiming to walk 12-15km per day, while pulling pulks which carry back-up equipment.
“As soon as we set up camp, which are usually just bunkhouses with a set of bunkbeds, we will get our own water and logs for the fire.
“It will be a brilliant experience.
“It’s also the only time I can get away from a phone, Wi-Fi and social media.”
Darren is no novice to extreme challenges, as last year he completed Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, all for charity.
Darren continued: “I did Kilimanjaro for my 50th birthday and I thought why not add another challenge before I’m 51 in April.
“I’m not thinking about what adventure is next, I just want to get through this one and then we will see where to go from there.
“I would encourage anyone that’s interested in taking on a challenge to visit the Venture to Victory website, or just to get out and try something.”
To sponsor Darren on his Arctic challenge, visit his JustGiving page here, where all donations received will go directly to Velindre Cancer Charity.
Jason Killens, Chief Executive at the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “The Welsh Ambulance Service is full of remarkable people, doing great things in and out of work.
“Darren will yet again be pushing his body to the limits for a brilliant cause, and I want to wish him the best of luck on another massive challenge for charity.
“You have the support of myself and Team WAST behind you.”