A father-of-two is bravely battling a brain tumour for a second time.
Ynyr Yaxley’s sheer coolness and courage have inspired his father, Paul, to take part in an overnight marathon hike in aid of The Brain Tumour Charity.
The circular 26-mile route, which starts and ends at the Eagles pub in Llanuwchllyn, will take the walkers over Bwlch y Groes and Bwlch Aberhirnant, then on through Rhos y Gwalia and Llangywer.
They’ll be setting off at 10pm on Saturday, July 8, and aiming to get back to the Eagles for breakfast at 8am the following morning.
The moonwalk is being organised by Sion Llewelyn, the pharmacist at Rowlands the chemist in Bala.
They’re already halfway to their £10,000 target thanks to a donation of £5,000 from Ifor Williams Trailers where Paul, 60, works as a welder and is the second longest serving employee after 45 years there.
Joiner Ynyr, 30, who lives in Cerrigydrudion, suffered the first brain tumour five years ago and had an operation to remove it, followed by 12 months of chemotherapy.
After recovering from the original tumour, he married his wife Sara and they have two little daughters, Eldra, two, and Lloer, six months.
He said: “The first time wasn’t that much of a shock to be honest which was quite strange. I’m sure it was a shock for my parents but I just thought ‘let’s get it done’.
“I had the operation in Walton and then I had to go to Clatterbridge to have the chemo.
“Everything went well after that. I was taking my tablets and that, as usual. Then I was working on a roof and I had a fit. I was lucky really that I didn’t fall off.
“It came out of the blue with no warning; in an instant. The other lad who was on the roof with me caught me and stopped me falling off.
“The tumour was malignant, grade 4. The first time, they reckoned it was the size of a tennis ball. I don’t think it was as big the second time around.
“I’m back on the chemo and radiotherapy and I’ve got eight chemo sessions left. I have a treatment every four to six weeks, so I have eight months left. It’s going quite well.”
Dad Paul, who lives in Llangwm, recalled the “terrible shock” of finding out about the first tumour.
He said: “I can’t describe our feelings when Ynyr told us he had a brain tumour.
“A month after the operation we went in to get the results and they said he had an aggressive cancer and what his chances of survival were. They grade brain tumours from one to four and he has a grade four.
“This time they’ve got 99 per cent of it but there’s still a little bit left and that’s why he’s having radio and chemotherapy.
“It was a shock the first time around but we never thought it would happen again. When the cancer came back, it was a great shock once more.
“My wife and I have spells where we’re breaking our hearts but Ynyr has been very positive since the start and it helps us to deal with it.
“Doing the walk is very important because we need to raise money for the Brain Tumour Charity. They rely on donations, so this means a lot.
“I’m very grateful to Ifor Williams Trailers for the fantastic donation which means we’re already half way to reaching the target.”
According to Sion Llewelyn, he decided to organise the walk because a number of close friends had suffered brain tumours over the years, among them a close friend Dylan Morris, who died 15 years ago.
He said: “After losing Dylan, I kept an eye on this spectre and I’m almost convinced that there’s an increase. There seems to me to be a lot of cases locally in recent times, in Penllyn and around Uwchaled, around Llangwm.
“A lad called Gareth Jones from Parc was lost two or three years ago and his father now, Elwyn, has a brain tumour. It’s tragic story.
“Elwyn too is a close friend of mine and we’ve been singing together in Meibion Llywarch for around 30 years.
“We had the idea for the walk about a month ago and there’s a lot of interest with more than 30 people already registered.
“We just want to try to collect as much money as possible so that more research can be done on the illness.
“Ifor Williams Trailers have been extremely generous. They’ve given us a very good start and we’re extremely thankful to them.”
Among those taking part in the walk is Gerallt Parry, a friend of Ynyr’s who works as a shift leader at Ifor Williams Trailers, along with Alan, Paul’s brother, a team leader at Ifor Williams Trailers; Dafydd, Ynyr’s brother; Ceri, his brother-in-law and Bryn, his father-in-law.
Gerallt said: “It’s for a very good cause. As well as being mates with Ynyr, a cousin of mine has the same illness so it means a lot to me personally.”
A Just Giving page has been set up for anybody wanting to make a donation: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Taithygwylliaid