A father of five who is battling bowel cancer has launched a hair raising campaign to give something back to the Alaw Cancer Unit where he is currently undergoing treatment.
Irfon Williams, from Bangor, kicked off his his #teamirfon fundraising campaign by shaving his head at the Urdd Eisteddfod on Tuesday, where he was ably assisted by Awyr Las Patron’s Rhun Ap Iorwerth AM, and the Tenor Rhys Meirion.
The 43 year old hopes to raise £20,000 for the Alaw Unit through North Wales NHS Charity Awyr Las.
He will now wear a different wacky wig every day for the next two weeks, before his fundraising campaign culminates with a fundraising auction and dinner later in the year.
“I’ve been moved by the courage shown by the ladies I’ve met who have lost their hair as a result of chemotherapy” explained Irfon.
“While the wigs I’ll be wearing are wacky, donations to the Alaw Unit through Awyr Las help provide bespoke, specialist wigs and headwear for ladies who lose their hair as a result of treatment.”
The father of five, who works as a Manager for Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board’s Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service, recently completed his first round of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with bowel cancer in January 2014.
“Being told I had cancer was a real shock” he said. “It’s not something you expect to happen to you, but I’ve accepted it and I’m more than ready for the battle.”
“A recent scan showed that my tumours have reduced in size, which was very encouraging.”
He will soon begin radiotherapy treatment before having liver and then bowel surgery.
Irfon says he has been inspired by the courage shown by 19 year old Stephen Sutton, who raised millions for charity through a social media campaign before his death earlier this month.
“Stephen’s story showed that good can come out of even the most desperately sad situations” said Irfon.
“Through the #teamirfon campaign I want to raise awareness of good mental health in cancer care, and support the incredible care, treatment and research that is carried out on Alaw” he added.
Alaw Unit Matron Jackie Jones has seen firsthand the impact that donation to the Unit can have. She said:
“Fundraisers like Irfon help us to provide the counseling services, complementary therapies, specialist equipment , bespoke headwear and patient comforts that make a huge difference to our patients.”
Irfon is calling on people in North West Wales to get involved in the #teamirfon campaign.
“People can help in a number of ways: by donating to my JustGiving site or by texting ‘IRFS50’ and ‘£amount’ to 70070” he explained.
“Those brave enough may choose to sport a wacky wig or hat and post a photo to the Awyr Las charity Facebook page.”
“#teamirfon is a fun way for me to give something back following the wonderful care I’ve received.”
You can follow Irfon’s progress on the Awyr Las Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/awyrlascharity and on his JustGiving site, www.justgiving.com/teamirfon