Inspirational cancer fighter and fundraiser set for Arctic challenge - The Solihull Observer

Inspirational cancer fighter and fundraiser set for Arctic challenge

Solihull Editorial 24th Dec, 2016   0

AN INSPIRATIONAL Solihull man, who lost his father and both grandfathers to cancer, will tackle a charity expedition to the Arctic – just weeks after being diagnosed with testicular cancer himself.

Jack Williams, who works at Cotswold Outdoors in Solihull, has secured his spot as one of two people from the UK on the 300km Fjällräven Polar trek through the Arctic wilderness to raise money for Worldwide Cancer Research.

After losing both his grandfathers to cancer and beloved father to bowel cancer, former Solihull School pupil Jack stumbled across the Fjällräven Polar and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to raise vital cash for the charity, which funds research into more than 200 different types of cancer.

But 28-year-old was struck with bad news of his own when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Having undergone a biopsy and removal of a 4cm tumour in his testicle six weeks ago, a further CT scan has revealed the cancer may have spread to a lymph node in Jack’s stomach – meaning he may require chemotherapy.

But rather than let this stop him, Jack was spurred on to secure his place on the expedition.

He said: “I’ve always been a positive person so I’m using my cancer to fuel my ambition.

“It’s a bit of a waiting game until I receive the results from my latest tests but I’m hopeful I’m going to be fighting fit by April and ready to take on this challenge.

“I am lucky my cancer was caught so early, but even if it has moved then it is Stage One and I’m still in a curable condition.

“If I’d got testicular cancer 40 years ago I would have had a less than five per cent chance of survival, but now its more the 95 per cent – highlighting how important the work research charities is to change the outcomes of the disease.”

To qualify for the expedition, Jack competed against would-be explorers for online votes from the public.

And with 10,325 votes he topped the UK table and secured his place on the trek.

He will now join 25 other people from across the world – from Slovakia to South Korea – travelling from Norway to Sweden on dog sled in temperatures as cold as minus 30 degrees.

But for Jack the challenge is just one to add to a long list of expeditions – including the Himalayas and Sahara Desert.

He said: “I’ve always been a bit of an adventurer.

“While I was at Solihull School, I regularly took part in the various shooting and sailing expeditions, and was even a cadet.

“A few years ago I also arranged and completed the three peaks challenge – raising more than £10,000 for various cancer charities.”

Jack beat out his closest UK rival by more than 7,300 votes after months of campaigning for his place on the trek online via social media.

“The response online has really taken me by surprise – people telling me their cancer stories and saying how inspirational I have been in encouraging them to get out there and use the time some of them have left,” Jack explained.

“It’s been heavy at times and it’s strange people to think of me as inspiring, but I’m getting to used it.

“I suppose I want to encourage people to do what they love – experiencing that rush and feeling of being alive when someone has told you you have a disease that will kill you.”

Visit to donate to Jack’s trek in aid of Worldwide Cancer Research.

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