Mum and wife, Rachel Venables, from Flint is determined to raise money to help others whilst battling her own terminal illness. Rachel’s determination has driven her to want to help others by raising money for the charity Awyr Las (Blue Sky) to specifically support the North Wales Cancer Treatment Centre.
A successful golf day was recently held on 21th September at Flint Golf Club where Rachel’s friends pulled out all the stops to support her with her fundraising. Close friend, Ceri Noble explains why and how she wanted to support: “I have known Rachel for many years; Rachel lost her father to cancer during her battle which was devastating for her and her family."
“When I saw that Rachel had set up a just giving page, I donated and decided to set up a golf competition in Flint Golf Club. My family and I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity for us to help Rachel achieve her goal. We had an amazing turn out of people on the weekend to support Rachel and a whole host of prizes including a junior and also a cash prize for nearest the pin, there was Irish bingo and the fabulous auction prize donated by Plas Coch Holiday Homes which all helped us raise a fantastic £2,530! Rachel is a true inspiration and although I can’t imagine what she must be going through physically and physiologically, she always remains strong and determined to kick cancer.“
Rachel says “What a day and night it was, we had an amazing turn out of people from the Community of Flint, together playing golf and families coming up to support their partners.
“The whole Noble family who put the event together - no words can express my gratitude to them. Special thank you to Ceri, my good friend, this would not have been possible without her and her daughter Jess for selling tons of cup cakes throughout the day.
“Throughout the evening there were lots of laughter and clapping and, of course, mainly a lot of fun and merry people. As I was leaving, the whole room stood on their feet and gave me a standing ovation and there wasn't a dry eye in the house.”
In 2008 Rachel found a very small lump in her breast. A mammogram revealed nothing, but having insisted a further exploration; an ultra sound scan and biopsy, she was admitted for treatment and underwent 6months of chemo and 3 weeks of radiotherapy and the removal of her left breast and lymph nodes. Thankfully, after her treatment had come to an end, she was given the all clear.
Sadly in 2012 Rachel experienced discomfort and pain across her chest and eventually visited the GP and due to Rachel’s history a chest x-ray appointment was made.
Rachel says: “The news was not good, the cancer had formed in my pelvis, ribs and particles in the lung! That daunting question ‘How long have I got?’ revealed that they would never be able to cure me but hopefully contain it for as long as possible. The Doctors mentioned that another patient undergoing a similar illness had been undergoing treatment for the last 22 years!! This gave me a little hope but of course, my husband, Mark and I were devastated”
Undefeated, Rachel has continued to work throughout her struggle with the illness and has been very lucky to have the support of her work and colleagues throughout. Rachel explains: “I have continued to work full time as Marketing and PR Manager for the most exclusive Holiday Home Park in Anglesey, Plas Coch Holiday Homes. My bosses have been a massive support with my work load which has helped a great deal on those more difficult days. The directors of Plas Coch have also generously offered for auction, a VIP week at Plas Coch in a luxury holiday home for 4 people, this is a money can’t buy opportunity.
Dean Styger, Managing Director of Plas Coch Holiday Homes says “The strength Rachel has shown in fighting her illness is incredible. Her work ethic and commitment is a shining example to us all. Emails will arrive at any time of day and she eagerly looks to share with us her latest marketing initiative. Without doubt a large part of our success is down to her continued involvement.”
Rachel says: “Having decided to raise funds, I was trying to think how I could do this? I can’t climb a mountain or take part in a sponsored bike ride, instead, I thought I would set up a Just Giving Page and share my wishes with my friends on face book and within minutes friends were giving, groups and communities came together along with complete strangers donating – it was overwhelming!”
Another close friend, Clair Hughes says:” We are an extremely close group of friends who can rely on each other for support at any time, we are there to support Rachel all the way and more. Rachel is a special lady who wants to give something back, cancer affects too many people in our lives and so we should all support the best way we can.”
Amongst the friends from the group, Kev Francis and Cheryl Sheady have joined forces with Clair to organise the Blue Sky Charity Ball Dinner and Dance which will take place at the Holiday Inn, Northop on 25th October 2013. Clair explains: “It took us one week to set everything in place and we advertised it on face book. Within 3 days the tickets had virtually sold out and donations for the auction and raffle have been flooding in. I was touched by a particularly generous guy, who came to my house yesterday, with a kindle, cover and screen protector. I asked how he knew Rach, and it just so happens that he doesn’t, he had just read about the event on face book and wanted to donate to the cause – I am totally dumfounded by strangers’ generosity!”
Cheryl adds: “I work at the Holiday Inn Chester West, and they have been supportive to ensure we raise plenty of cash for this fantastic and very worthy cause. Even though Rachel is fighting her own battle she wants to help others. I really admire her and she makes me think about how lucky I am in life. Rachel is one strong, brave beautiful lady who I am very proud to call a friend.”
Rachel says: “I want to thank everyone personally but most of all my friends above who have done this for me and for the charity Awyr Las (Blue Sky)”