(Image: Ben Summer)

Walking through fire to raise £5,000 for cancer care

Dozens of people supported by Maggie’s charity brave the flames to give something back

VOLUNTEERS and staff of a cancer support charity have raised over £5,000 by walking over hot coals.

The Whitchurch branch of Maggie’s, a national charity that offers counselling, classes and advice to people living with cancer and their families, hosted a firewalk challenge last night.

At Cardiff Arms Park, 34 brave fundraisers walked across a bed of burning embers, all sponsored by friends and family.

Donna Pearce first received support from Maggie’s over Zoom in lockdown (Image: Ben Summer)

Donna Pearce was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2018 and is still undergoing treatment. She said: “I wanted to do the walk and give something back because Maggie’s has given me so much.

“You know that there’s always someone there to listen and support you. It’s the emotional support which has got me through some pretty bad times.”

Maggie’s delivers its services in its Cardiff building in the Velindre Cancer Centre in Whitchurch.

Patients and their families can talk with psychologists, take classes including art therapy, have a cup of tea and a chat and learn how to deal with the financial burden of living with cancer.

Last night’s volunteers went through an hour of training before watching a pyre of wood being set on fire.

Once the flames settled, they took their turns walking across the embers and were met by enthusiastic applause from their friends and families.

After doing the walk, Claire Scannell said: “It felt amazing. It didn’t hurt at all, it wasn’t even really that warm!”

Claire Scannell was one of 34 people to brave the fire (Image: Ben Summer)

As well as the dedicated team of volunteers, Maggie’s Cardiff employs a small team of staff including psychologists and benefits advisors.

Eleanor Furlong, one of the centre’s heads of fundraising, said: “People get their medical treatment in hospital but they and their families can come to Maggie’s for the extra things they may need help with.

“The firewalk is something a bit different. It’s a challenge – if you can do this, you can do whatever you set your mind to!”

Andy Holdsworth, a staff member for firewalk organisers Blaze, spent the evening tending the flames and encouraging the volunteers.

“For a lot of people, running a marathon is impossible and doing a parachute jump isn’t achievable but a firewalk is a great way to raise money for a charity that means a lot to them,” he said.

Andy Holdsworth in his protective gear (Image: Ben Summer)

You can donate to Maggie’s here.

If you think you could benefit from support at the Cardiff branch, you can learn more about it here.

You can also email cardiff@maggies.org, phone 02922408024 or visit on Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm in the Chris McGuigan building of the Velindre Cancer Centre.