Role Models

To get inspired, check out the achievements of the fundraising heroes who’ve gone before you!

Matt Richards: The Wrecking Ball

Who: Matt Richards
What: The Wrecking Ball – electrifying live music from local bands at the Tunnels, Bristol
When: June 2013
Amount raised: over £1,500

Matt says: “I’m the drummer in Dogs and Demons, a Bristol-based rock/indie covers band. In 2012 we received the devastating news that our lead guitarist Malc, aged 35, had been diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Following successful treatment, Malc was luckily given the all-clear. I quickly brought the idea to the table that Dogs and Demons should mark his return to health with a big fundraising/awareness-raising party.

Malc was passionate that It’s In The Bag should be our supported charity fund, as the IITB team had been there for him throughout his treatment.

I’ve taken so much more from the experience of organising the Wrecking Ball than I ever thought I would. This experience has taught me that great things can be achieved with the gift of my time and commitment. Together we’ve raised over £1,500, and an amazing amount of awareness too.

At the end of the night I stood behind my drum kit, looked out and saw over two hundred smiling faces, one of which was Malc’s. And I thought to myself, ‘if the money we’ve raised tonight helps to support someone else, so they can continue to share their life with their friends and family, then the stress of putting on this event was worth it’. I want to say thanks for the fantastic support from everyone who helped make the event happen.”

Lee Miles: Bratton Hilly Run & Merchandise sales

Who: Lee Miles
What: Bratton Hilly Run, and IITB merchandise sales at the Duke at Bratton pub

When: May 2013, sales ongoing

Amount raised: £190 and counting!

Lee says: “Having survived testicular cancer myself, I started fundraising for It’s in the Bag. I was just looking to give something back, as I have had a lot of support from all around me, and that support is priceless. The work It’s in the Bag do for people who are suffering from cancer is amazing, and I just wanted to help out where possible.”

Adria Williams: Paris marathon & Fitness Initiatives

Who: Adria Williams

What: Paris marathon, Splosh for Dosh II, and Ady’s Bootcamp – a four-day exercise extravaganza at ITS Ladies fitness in Bristol
When: April 2013

Amount raised: £2,500

Ady says: “I decided to start fundraising for It’s in the Bag because it’s a charity very close to me and my family. My gorgeous brother was diagnosed at the start of 2013 with testicular cancer, and being only 22 it took us all by surprise. I would have given anything to have taken it away and physically help him through, but I couldn’t. So I decided to raise awareness to help other families in our position.

I’ve always been an exercise freak, so I wanted to run another marathon – but this time bigger, better and more orange! I collected sponsorship by selling raffle tickets at work, and the prizes were donated by Hush Hairdressing and Shire Hotels. This raised a huge amount of awareness among my clients and their families.

Following the marathon I did the Splosh for Dosh II swim, which was a completely new challenge for me. I also started coaching an all-ladies bootcamp at ITS Ladies Fitness in Kingswood, which 20 girls signed up for. We trained for one hour every Sunday for a month, hardcore style, and they gained sponsorship for completing the four weeks.

I was fully focused on all the fundraising I did, and I found it helped me and my bro to have an encouraging goal for how much we wanted to raise. I think it helped him to have something positive to focus on during all his treatment.”

Robbie Newton: The Chris Penelhum Memorial Football Match

Who: Robbie Newton
What: The Chris Penelhum Memorial Football Match – a game between two teams of Trowbridge Town supporters, held at Melksham Town FC
When: April 2013
Amount raised: Over £1,000

Robbie says: “I’ve been mates with Chris Penelhum since school, and Chris sadly passed away from testicular cancer earlier this year.

Chris loved doing his bit for charity, most recently for IITB with his Comedy Evening and also a football match which we co-organised back in October 2012.

The only way I could deal with the passing away of Chris was to do what I’m good at – organising charity events! The idea was to arrange a football match featuring my Sunday football team against a team of players from yesteryear. Chris played for our team on and off over the years. The match was my way of saying goodbye and providing a fitting way to celebrate the life of such a great bloke.

It was a bit of a daunting prospect at first, but I have a group of fantastic family and friends that are more than willing to help out. Dave and Letitia Hyde, Andy and Roxi Meaden and my better half Kathy French deserve a mention, as does Steve Wright at IITB for his help at all hours of the day!

The match went very well, and what a fantastic turnout! Seeing Chris’s partner and child kicking the match off made me feel proud that so many people had come along and left a lump in my throat. Lots of money was raised, but perhaps more importantly the match spread awareness. It showed me just how much everyone loved Chris and wanted to support the charity that had been helping him.”

Will King: Splosh for Dosh II

Who: Will King
What: Splosh for Dosh II – It’s in the Bag’s bi-annual sponsored swimming event

When: April 2013

Amount raised: over £1,200

Will says: “I was diagnosed with testicular cancer in December 2012, and went through the normal processes of numbness, fear and worry. Thankfully we found the cancer early, and with surgery and some preventive chemo hopefully I’ve put it behind me. But it struck me, during the months where there were more unknowns than solutions, that:

a) I knew very little about testicular cancer before it happened to me, and
b) I didn’t know where to go for support, advice and info.

Were it not for a strong family and very supportive group of friends, I may not have got through it so well. I was in a fortunate position, but others aren’t.

It also occurred to me that this type of cancer, despite being the most common type in young men, is not particularly well publicised. We hear about breast and lung cancer, but the young male population, who are quite frankly more likely to ignore the signs, are relatively uneducated or supported. So when Sue Brand told me about IITB I wanted to do something – to give back to the people who helped me and to help those who have had a much rougher ride or won’t recover.

The act of raising money was very cathartic. I met other people who were really suffering but because of IITB could remain upbeat and really maintain such a positive outlook. That kind of attitude is contagious. Taking part in Splosh for Dosh II also made me remember how much I love swimming, and that regular exercise use is something I want to put back in my life.

So it’s time for me to get involved, not just this once but in a continued fashion. Each of us can make a difference for someone, and say thank you to someone who has helped us. I feel it only right to say a massive thank you to all my sponsors, all of whom were extremely generous.”

Ben Lundie: Marathon des Sables

Who: Ben Lundie

What: Marathon des Sables, AKA ‘the toughest foot race on earth’: Six days across the Sahara. 150 miles. 50°C temperatures. Carrying your sleeping gear and provisions.
When: April 2012

Amount raised: £25,000

Ben says: “The Marathon des Sables was the experience of a lifetime that gave me the opportunity to push myself to the limit whilst also allowing me to raise money for It’s in the Bag, a charity which has helped me over the years. They do incredible work that deserves much greater recognition.”

Alex Howells: Three Peaks Challenge

Who: Alex Howells

What: Three Peaks Challenge – climbing the highest peak in England, in Scotland and in Wales, all in the space of 24 hours

When: April 2012
Amount raised: £2,000

Alex says: “After surviving the toughest battle of my life I felt I needed to give something back to the people that helped save my life. So I decided to attempt the Three Peaks Challenge.

In hindsight, despite all my training and practice climbs, I should have known that this would be beyond my body after all it had been through less than six months earlier. I failed to complete the challenge and was devastated. But having raised over £2,000 I now see what I had achieved was not a failure at all.

My motto throughout my whole treatment was, ‘Physically I’m half the man I used to be. Mentally I’m twice the man I’ll ever be,’ and that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

Chrissie Powell: Bristol Half Marathon

Who: Chrissie Powell

What: Bristol Half Marathon

When: March 2012

Amount raised: £234

Chrissie says: “After a close friend was diagnosed with testicular cancer I wanted to raise awareness, as you always assume that things like cancer don’t happen to you or the people you love. Raising money for It’s in the Bag by running the Bristol Half Marathon was my way of showing my support and ‘doing my bit’ to try and prevent it happening to others.

On the day I wore the orange t-shirt saying ‘Keep Calm and Check Your Balls’. It was amazing to hear people call this out throughout the route! It encouraged me to keep my pace, and in fact I managed to shave 20 minutes from my previous time. More  importantly, I also hope it encouraged those people to stop and think.

Check your balls, guys.

Check his balls, gals.”