“The challenge was a way to show that there was life after a cancer diagnosis.”
Luke Thomas was first diagnosed with melanoma back in 2014, when he noticed an unusual mole on his back. He had this mole surgically removed and then five years later he found another unusual mole on his arm, this mole was cancerous and again surgically removed. However, Luke started to feel weak and nauseous, he returned to hospital for a biopsy where he was told he had stage 4 metastatic melanoma.
Since then, Luke has received various forms of treatment including immunotherapy and a form targeted treatment and continues to at present, he is currently NED (no evidence of disease).
Luke’s story is one of true inspiration, in February 2021, Luke decided that he would walk the 876 mile round journey of the Welsh Coastal Path, he wanted to use this challenge to raise awareness and money for Melanoma Focus. He named his challenge ‘My Big Cancer Walk’ and within the first five days of setting up his JustGiving page he raised an astonishing £5,000.
Luke began his journey on 1st July 2021, he was joined by his partner, friends, family members and consultant Dr Mark Harries at different stages of the mighty walk. He documented his journey on his Instagram page and the people of Wales began looking out for him along the coastal path. He was met with the warmness of Wales as strangers donated drinks, food and accommodation to him. His story became well known throughout the media attracting attention from celebrities such as Shane Richie, Sacha Baron Cohen, Isla Fisher, Zoe Ball, Stephen Webb and more.
Luke’s mighty walk took three months to complete, he conquered the wet Welsh weather and powered through the side effects of his ongoing treatment. Luke finished his walked 2nd October 2021.
He amazingly raised over £60,000 for Melanoma Focus. Thank you does not do it justice. We will forever be grateful for his support, the money that he raised has made a huge difference to our charity.
Since this, Luke has been very busy renovating his beautiful Welsh cottage which has won ‘Wales Home of the Year’. He very kindly organised an ‘open house’ event and raised more money for Melanoma Focus. Luke continues to have such a big impact on our charity with his continued support.
We asked Luke what advice and tips he would give to somebody who wanted to fundraise for Melanoma Focus, this is what he said:
“To push on social media platforms, they are a great tool to get maximum exposure. Not only posting on your own profile but to join other Facebook groups / societies to share your story and to politely ask for any donation great or small. For example, the town and villages I passed through while walking I requested to join their local forums and also joined any related groups to my fundraiser such as walking and costal path groups. Contact local newspapers to print your story, this is easy enough to do via Facebook and Instagram.”
Luke in the news:
The Western Telegraph: Fundraiser on 876-mile walk arrives in Pembrokeshire
North Wales Live: Cancer patient sets off on 876 mile walk along the Welsh Coastal Path
Sky News: Interview- Melanoma Awareness Month
Wales Online: Wales’ home of the year
Luke was also mentioned on BBC Radio 2’s Zoe Ball’s Breakfast Show and had a feature on ITV Wales’ evening news.
Check out Luke’s Instagram @mybigcancerwalk to see more about his amazing challenge.
If Luke’s story has inspired you and you would like you would like to complete your own fundraising challenge (no matter how big or small!) click here.