Highlights & news

Craig Maxwell completes epic Wales Coast Path challenge to a standing ovation at the Principality Stadium

Craig Maxwell completed his mammoth Wales Coast Path Cancer Challenge Sunday afternoon after 26 days walking the length of Wales.

The dad of two, who was diagnosed with incurable and inoperable EGFR+ lung cancer in September 2022, walked the Wales v France match ball, which he had carried on his back throughout the challenge, onto the pitch to a standing ovation from the crowd of over 71,000 fans. He was joined by his wife Tracey, daughter Isla and son Zach.

With £884,000 already raised, the former WRU commercial director is aiming to raise a monumental £1m for the Maxwell Family Fund, a fund as part of Velindre Cancer Centre, to enhance, improve and develop the cancer pathway in Wales.

600 walkers signed up to support Craig on the 26-day challenge, which covered 780 miles of the coast path to represent the 78 days it took Craig to receive his diagnosis from the point of finding his tumour. The rest of the 870-mile coast path was cycled. It was 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.

10.03.24 – Wales v France Guinness 6 Nations – Craig Maxwell walks the match ball out at the Principality Stadium after completing his around Wales Walk for Velindre.

Starting on 14th February, his journey saw him walk the North Wales coast, around Anglesey, the Llyn Peninsula, down the Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire coast, around the Carmarthenshire coast and Gower, and along the south Wales coast to the stadium in Cardiff.

During the challenge, he was joined by a host of celebrities including TV presenter Gethin Jones, comedian Rhod Gilbert, weatherman Derek Brockway and former rugby players Sam Warburton, Jamie Roberts and Josh Navidi. Former England cricket captain Sir Andrew Strauss also joined for a leg, having lost his wife Ruth to lung cancer in 2018.

On the last day, Sunday 11th March, he walked from Barry to Cardiff, stopping at Penarth, where he received a rapturous welcome from his hometown, including Penarth RFC’s junior rugby team, whom he coaches. Walking through Cardiff to the stadium, he received a warm welcome from Welsh and French fans, before taking the match ball into the stadium ahead of the game. As he walked on, rugby pundit Jonathan Davies, said:

“I have been with him on many challenges but he is facing the toughest challenge of his life now. What he has done is absolutely phenomenal. You can see how the rugby family comes together. The support he has had. He has done this to show his children that even in the darkest times you can be a force for good. This guy is an absolute inspiration.”

10.03.24 – Wales v France – Guinness 6 Nations Championship – Craig Maxwell and family deliver the match ball.

On completing his challenge, Craig said: “I wouldn’t have completed the challenge without all the support I’ve had. From my fellow walkers and celebrities to the people who have come out to support us in towns and villages across Wales, the support has been overwhelming. These people have lifted me every day and kept me going.  Walking the match ball onto the pitch with my family, surrounded by former WRU and Six Nations colleagues and over 70,000 fans, was emotional and something that will stay with me any my family forever. Thank you to everyone who has supported the challenge. We’re hoping that everyone will keep donating so that we can reach our £1m target.”

Craig 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. At the start of the year, he set up the Maxwell Family Fund with the aim of fundraising 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.

To find out more visit https://maxwell.foundation.  Donate via here: https://the-maxwell-family-fund.justgiving-sites.com/ or donate £10  by texting WALK24 to 70191.

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