Two Newcastle University students, Will Thompson and Oliver Grady have been using their passion for sport to incite positive change throughout the community. Through climbing activities they are helping to fundraise for two charity organisations, doing research into cancer therapy and SADS (sudden arrhythmic death syndrome.)
SADS can cause cardiac arrest by bringing on a ‘ventricular arrhythmia’, a disturbance in the hearts rhythm, even through the structure of the heart is intact.
The students were moved by the loss of a close friend - Alex Wardle, who sadly passed away last year as a result of the same condition, have set themselves the goal of climbing 1km indoors for the charities, to raise money and awareness for this cause.
On 11th June 2017 the duo will attempt to climb the height of 1000 meters indoors at Sunderland wall, in support of ‘Climbers against Cancer’ and ‘The Alex Wardle Foundation’. The task requires a 10- hour continuous climbing throughout the day with very few breaks and they have been training for the event since the end of January. The height is equivalent to the Dawn Wall route in Yosemite National Park in USA, which has been climbed only twice.
Will Thompson shared with the Courier:
“I have been involved in a charity run event before, but this feels more personal. Alex was into sports like rugby and the gym and a sporting charity event is just the best way to remember him, I suppose.”
In honor of Alex, his parents and friends have organized and currently support ‘The Alex Wardle Foundation’, created to spread awareness of the disease in hope that screening for cardiac abnormalities prevents further deaths from SADs.
‘Climbers Against Cancer’ was set up in 2012 by the climber John Ellison with the aim of uniting the climbing community to raise funds to combat cancer, and since then has become an internationally known charity among the climbing community for research into cancer therapy.
Besides supporting the team on June 11, the boys encourage people to take the opportunity to make donations through the two web pages ‘The Alex Wardle Foundation’ and ‘Climbers Against Cancer’. The students also shared with us that the wall manager in Sunderland has promised to donate £50 if they complete the climb.
Will and Oliver have even created another page on JustGiving to promote the cause, where except donations they are getting encouraging feedback as well.