Challenge Cancer UK’s journey began in 2010 when 37 year old Elise Roberts, Head of Customer Services at Barclays, was given the devastating news that she had stage 4 malignant melanoma and was given between 6 and 12 months to live.
Sadly, Elise passed away only 9 months after her diagnosis, but during the short time she had left she set up ‘Elise for Life’, a £1million appeal raising funds for research into malignant melanoma, and for the clinical trials unit at The Christie hospital in Manchester, where she was being treated.
Elise for Life saw hundreds of people walk the Great Wall of China, cycle from Vietnam to Cambodia, climb Mount Kilimanjaro, raft on the Zambezi River, trek across the Icelandic lava fields, and even snowshoe across the Pyrenees. This was in addition to the hundreds of fundraising events on the ground that contributed to the massive success of the appeal.
Elise for Life gained an ever growing army of supporters from across the UK and smashed the £1million target in just less than 3 years….raising an incredible £1.2m! It was following this incredible success we realised that 1) we just couldn’t stop at £1million and 2) we need to keep challenging this cruel and indiscriminate disease.
In May 2013, we secured charitable status for ‘Challenge for Life’, a national cancer charity that would raise funds for the entire cancer journey. Together with a distinguished board of trustees and a group of highly respected charity partners, we were ready to take our ambitions even further afield.
In December 2014, following research and feedback from our supporters, we took the decision to rename the charity, and Challenge Cancer UK was born.