A group of six are five weeks away from embarking on a 12-day hike, cycle and canoe from the Lake District to the Severn Estuary, in a challenge to raise money for children’s hospital charity, Noah’s Ark.

Leading the group is Camilla Laing from Monmouthshire, who watched her 17 year old niece battle leukaemia twice and was inspired to raise money for the children’s charity a year ago.

Between 2010 and 2015, Camilla’s niece was treated for leukaemia in London. Camilla, Inspired by the cancer care she witnessed & experiencing her own cancer journey with breast cancer in 2010, found a similar cause closer to home in Wales – the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital Charity, that supports children who need specialist and often life-saving treatment.

An avid outdoor woman, Camilla has inspired five other adventurers to join her in the MAD challenge; hiking up the four highest peaks in England, cycling 200 miles from Kendal to Herefordshire and canoeing 100 miles of the River Wye in four days from Hay on Wye to Chepstow. Camilla will be joined by Geraint, Carrie, Matthew, Sarah and Graham.

Camilla said: “I’ve seen how challenging it is for children going through illnesses like cancer. We hope to raise as much money as possible to help Noah’s Ark continue to help families going through these medical crises”

Geraint, has a 10 year old daughter who has been a lifetime patient of the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital. She was born with a rare kidney disorder and has had nine operations to date. Thanks to medical care given to her at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital she is now a budding junior rugby player!

“We are so grateful for all the care Evie has received, the challenge was an opportunity to help continue the great work done buy the hospital for other kids in the future” Geraint said.

To raise funds, the MAD challenge team will summit Skiddaw, Scafell, Helvellyn and Scafell Pike in 4 days. Next, they’ll take 4 days to cycle 226 miles from Kendal to Hay on Wye, Herefordshire. The final four days will see them canoe a challenging 100 miles down the River Wye, finishing up by navigating the tidal waters of the Severn Estuary. On top of the physical challenge the team will be camping for most of the 12 day expedition.

The MAD challenge is made all the more difficult as most of the team are not athletes and are avidly training at weekends and in the evenings. Each hike will cover approximately 5-10 miles and take between 5-6 hours. Each day of cycling is estimated to take the team five doing 25 miles a day but 75 miles on their last day! While the canoeing will be 5-6 hours a day doing 25 miles daily.

The MAD challenge is being supported by local businesses across South Wales and the UK. Eko the dog has been sponsored by Ruffwear & Nutravet and Symonds Yat-based Wye Adventures will provide all canoe kit & guidance on the last leg of the challenge. Other supporters include Crickhowell Adventures who have been vital in help provide kit and advice for the team, Rockfield and By The Wye Glamping who have generously given accommodation on the route. Nutrition has been provided by Enduo & Wolfys to keep the team fuel on the challenge, You can donate by going to their JustGiving page- https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mad-challenge20231