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Love Island’s Liam Reardon to walk the Pembrokeshire Coast Path for charity

FORMER Love Island winner Liam Reardon is walking part of the Wales Coast Path in a bid to raise £1 million to enhance, improve and develop the cancer pathway in Wales.

The Season 7 star, from Merthyr Tydfil, is one of several Welsh celebrities signed up to support former Welsh Rugby Union commercial director Craig Maxwell, who was diagnosed with incurable and inoperable EGFR lung and bone cancer in 2022.

Craig has launched the Wales Coast Path Cancer Challenge to raise £1 million for the Maxwell Family Genomics Fund, a fund as part of Velindre Cancer Centre.

The 26-day challenge will see people from across Wales walk 780 miles of the coast path, to represent the 78 days it took him to receive his diagnosis from the point of finding his tumour. It is being done in 26 days to mirror the QuicDNA project, a genomics research project to reduce diagnosis time for lung cancer patients to a maximum of 26 days.

Craig is hoping to sign-up 30 people to each day of the walk and Liam Reardon is encouraging people to join him on his leg on 27th February from Cardigan to Goodwick.

A rugby match ball will be relayed the entire distance of the challenge, symbolising Wales’ collective fight against cancer and it will culminate at the national stadium of Wales, the Principality Stadium, on 10th March for the Wales vs. France Guinness Six Nations match, where Craig accompanied by his children, Isla and Zach, will carry the match ball onto the pitch.

Acknowledging the unpredictable nature of his ongoing treatments, Craig will be joined by a different Welsh celebrity every day of the walk, so that regardless of his ability to walk, he will have a representative to take on the challenge. A number of Welsh celebrities are signed up to take part, including TV presenters Gethin Jones, Derek Brockway and Wynne Evans, together with former rugby players Sam Warburton, Jamie Roberts, Josh Navidi, Tom Shanklin, Ieuan Evans, Shane Williams, Martyn Williams, Jonathan ‘Jiffy’ Davies, Rupert Moon and former referee Nigel Owens.

Maxwell says: “We are embarking on a monumental challenge to symbolise hope, resilience, and unity, and raise over £1 million for the research and development of new and innovate cancer testing and treatments in Wales. Having surpassed our initial fundraising goals of £300,000 for QuicDNA, we really hope people will join us in taking on the Wales Coast Path Challenge. It will be our most ambitious journey yet as we strive to create a community united against cancer across the length and breadth of Wales.

“Cancer has touched our lives, challenged our resilience, but it will not define our future. This event will see people from all over Wales stand united, not just as individuals but as a formidable force against cancer.”

Craig, who most recently was the former chief commercial officer of Six Nations Rugby, was just 40 when he was diagnosed with incurable and inoperable EGFR lung and bone cancer. In the face of adversity, having told he had a limited time to live, he has thrown himself into raising hundreds of thousands of pounds to help others detect cancer earlier.

Over the last year, he has run the London Marathon, taken part in CARTEN, cycled 320 miles from Cardiff to Paris, cycled over 420 miles from Paris to Bordeaux and taken on the Welsh 3000s – climbing over 10 mountains, all over 3,000ft in 24 hours. Earlier this year, he was crowned Cycling Plus’ Rider of the Year for his efforts.

His story has touched the hearts of many, rallying support that surpassed all expectations. His efforts to date have seen him raise £430,000 to support the QuicDNA project, which aims to shorten the time it takes to diagnose lung cancer in patients in Wales.

With a further £500,000 donated by The Moondance Foundation, set up by Henry and Diane Engelhardt, Craig has now launched his own charity fund.

The Maxwell Family Genomics Fund aims to enhance, improve and develop the cancer pathway in Wales. Administered and supported by Velindre, with support from the Moondance Foundation and All Wales Genomics, the fund will aim to make a lasting difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families in Wales.

He says: “I’m proud to launch the Maxwell Family Genomics Fund, where hope, courage, and community converge in the fight against cancer in Wales. This is the start of my family and friends creating a legacy and showing my children that even at the worst time possible, you can still rise up and be positive and make a difference.”

Professor Tom Crosby OBE, consultant oncologist in Velindre Cancer Centre, says: “Craig is one of the most inspirational people I have met. His drive to improve the outcome for others who experience cancer is just phenomenal. That together with his ability to articulate the issues to the wider public, and his experience and expertise at improving how systems work, is amazing, yet humbling at the same time. We are just so grateful to him and his choice to partner with Velindre in delivering his vision, now through QuicDNA but also in the future through a legacy fund.”

To see the route and sign-up visit https://maxwell.foundation. For those unable to walk, but still keen to support, you can text WALK24 to 70191 to donate £10.

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