Robert Ward

Robert's - Spitsbergen Pursuit Challenge

Fundraising for The Brain Tumour Charity
raised of £10,000 target
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Participants: John Ward
Inspired by Joss Rowley-Stark the Lewis Moody Foundation raises awareness, helps families create memories & contributes towards ground-breaking research to help find a cure for brain tumours.


My name is Robert Ward, I am 45 years old and live and work in Manchester. I am a husband to Aisling and a father of 5 children.  Until 6th December of 2013, I knew nothing about brain tumours. That changed very quickly when on that particular night, I had a full blown seizure whilst asleep and was subsequently diagnosed with a frontal lobe brain tumour – I was 37 at the time.

At the time, the prognosis was not looking good, but the truly amazing neuro-surgical team at Salford Royal Hospital managed to gather the relevant specialists so that I could have surgery on 2nd January 2014 to resect my tumour, which we christened Derek!  I then had a  repeat surgery in the summer of 2018.  I have been extremely fortunate that both resections have been very successful and I have not required any further treatment.  I have also been blessed by the level of support from friends and family which has  been overwhelming.

Every year, approximately 11,000 people in the UK are given the news that they have a brain tumour. Although we might think of them as rare, the impact that they have can be very far reaching. They are the biggest cancer killer of children and adults under 40 but despite these facts, less than 2% of the £500million invested in cancer research in the UK every year is spent on brain tumours. This must change. 

With this in mind, I have decided to take on a polar trek with a team of 10 embarking on a Pursuit Challenge in March of 2022 to Spitsbergen in the Svalbard Archipelago, between mainland Norway and the North Pole. It is one of the world’s northernmost inhabited areas and is known for its rugged, remote terrain of glaciers and frozen tundra. Over 7 days, we will be submerged in a range of activities intended to challenge us mentally, physically and emotionally, including a 3 day polar expedition. 

I will also be joined by my older brother John who will be supporting me through this challenge - we have both been pulling sleds along various beaches around the UK to try and get a feel for the real thing and also to increase our fitness levels!

Why am I doing this?  Firstly, to increase awareness of brain tumours; secondly, to raise funds for research into brain tumours and thirdly, to provide hope for other people living with brain tumours. I remember when I was first diagnosed, I desperately wanted to hear  good news stories about people living with brain tumours. I am hoping that by taking on this challenge, it will provide others who have been given a similar diagnosis some solace that they can still function at the very highest level both physically and mentally, even though they are dealing with their own personal challenges. 

I am proud to be representing The Lewis Moody Foundation ( as an Ambassador, a cause close to my heart (and my head!).   

Lewis writes: "Rob is a truly inspiring man. His passion and commitment to make a difference to the lives of families living and dealing with the impact of a brain tumour is quite remarkable. Rob has been an ambassador for the Lewis Moody Foundation since 2017 and has inspired many of our challenge teams over the last few years, through sharing his own story of living with a brain tumour and its impact on his life and that of his family".

Through this challenge, I am keen to raise funds for The Lewis Moody Foundation who, in partnership with The Brain Tumour Charity, help fund vital research, support and awareness. With your help, we can enable The Foundation to focus on funding  specific projects such as the Tessa Jowell Brain Matrix, the first-of-its-kind study which aims to enable doctors to treat brain tumours with drugs that are more targeted than ever before. Funding such ground-breaking projects are the only way we can change the landscape for those diagnosed in the future. We need to give people hope and by supporting my fundraising challenge you can help to do that. Thank you. 

About the campaign

Inspired by Joss Rowley-Stark the Lewis Moody Foundation raises awareness, helps families create memories & contributes towards ground-breaking research to help find a cure for brain tumours.

About the charity

The Brain Tumour Charity is the world’s leading brain tumour charity and the largest dedicated funder of research into brain tumours globally. Committed to saving and improving lives, we’re moving further and faster to help every single person affected by a brain tumour. A cure really can’t wait

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