Spitsbergen Challenge 2022

March 2022

Lewis Moody Foundation Ambassador, Rob Ward, has taken on a once-in-a-lifetime challenge – Spitsbergen Arctic Challenge. Not one to be left out John, Rob’s brother, joined his brother for this epic challenge into the Arctic circle. Together they’ve raised an incredible £26,700!

We met with Rob before they set off for their challenge to find out a little bit more about the challenge, his preparation and what being an ambassador means to him.

Q: How are you and John feeling about the challenge, and how’s the preparation going?

We’re both very excited, a little bit nervous and anxious, I suppose, due to the degree of the unknown. All we can do is make sure we train as much as possible – the rest is in the very safe hands of the organisers. You’ve got to put your trust in them! It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity so we are really looking forward to taking this on for The Foundation.

Q: How did you and your brother, John, become part of the challenge?

I had previously done some work for the Lewis Moody Foundation (LMF) as an ambassador and in this time, I’d head on thepotential of this Spitsbergen Challenge. We knew that this could be a great potential fundraising opportunity for The Foundation and something that I thought would be a great challenge to take on.

The event was originally postponed due to COVID, like so many and during this time I was speaking to John about the challenge over a few beers, needless to say after our discussion he couldn’t help himself and decided to get on board too!

It’s great to have John doing this challenge with me and I’m really pleased that he will be taking this on with me, both fundraising for LMF.

Q: Do you both train for the challenge together?

Yes, we train together sometimes when we can, but have also had plenty of training hours separately too. We’ve done a few walks around the Peak District together to improve our stamina but unfortunately the climate can’t be replicated as easily – we can only do what we can do.

As strange as it sounds, I’ve also been training on the beach, pulling along sleds full of sand with a couple of others who are participating in the challenge. We got some very strange looks from people!

Q: How has the fundraising been going?

It’s going well. My target is £10,000 and I’m just about at £8,000 and John has a target of £5,000 and he’s already almost there too.

We’re on track to achieving and hopefully surpassing our combined target of £15,000 and look forward to seeing how we do with photos and proof that we actually make it!

Q: As an ambassador, how do you view your role within the LMF?

Fundraising is the key thing for me. The way I see it, I’m very fortunate to do the events I’m doing and have done. When you receive a diagnosis like that, you’re reeling from the news and you don’t know what to do. I’m 8 years in and I am still able to lead a normal life and participate in these events.

I’ve learnt that no diagnosis is the same. It’s not like breaking your arm where you can just put it in a cast – there are a range of factors that affect your treatment and prognosis. I want to share my story to help others cope with their diagnosis, whether it’s similar or not.

Rob Ward – LMF Ambassador

It is challenges like Rob’s that help us to continue to tackle brain tumours. Whether it is raising £20,000 or £200, every pound goes towards funding world class research into brain tumours as well as providing vital support for families and individuals affected by brain tumours.

Together we can #TackleBrainTumours.