A single dad-of-one who lost his wife to cancer has handed over £100,000 to Cancer Research UK on behalf of national housing association Riverside.
Carlos Montejo, who sadly lost his wife Alba to cancer in 2016, was chosen to represent his colleagues at Riverside who together raised the money through a three year fundraising campaign.
The 48-year-old Service Manager joined Riverside in 2003 as a night support worker and now manages supported housing services for around 140 people in the Guildford area. He travelled up specially to join Group Chief Executive Carol Matthews for the big cheque handover at Riverside’s head office in Speke, Liverpool last week.
“Losing my wife after her six and half year battle with cancer was a huge blow both to me and my son, who was just 10 years old at the time” said Carlos. “Riverside have been a great support to me throughout her illness and afterwards as I adjusted to life as a single parent. I also received personal letters of condolence from Carol, my Director, Cath McAndry, Paul Teasdale my Regional manager amongst others managers and colleagues from Riverside which meant a lot to me. I was really pleased to be able to honour her memory by handing over the cheque on behalf of my colleagues and everyone who has been affected by cancer.”
Achieving the £100,000 target was the result of a massive three-year fundraising campaign by hundreds of Riverside employees who ran, swam, baked cakes, carved pumpkins, raced Dragon boats, cycled and tackled assault courses in their quest to raise money to support people fighting cancer.
Carl Mitchell ran a half marathon to mark 20 years of being cancer-free. The Hull dad battled a rare form of cancer called spindle cell sarcoma from the age of 16 and it took several years to recover from the disease. The 41-year-old dad still attends check-ups to make sure it hasn’t returned. He raised nearly £900.
Simon Allcock from Cambridge and David Taylor of Wirral took up the gauntlet of cycling more than 400km (255 miles) from Leicester to Carlisle in two days. The extreme cycling challenge proved just that because on day two David suffered a knee injury in Kendal and couldn’t go any further. But together they raised £1,200 for the cause.
Staff at Willow Walk homeless hostel in Cambridge organised their own bike ride in support of them, cycling around 12 miles in total.
Congratulating staff across the organisation, Riverside’s Chief Executive Carol Matthews said: “I am so proud of everyone who has helped exceed our £100,000 goal by fundraising and donating money to the cause.
“Cancer is a wicked disease and I know each of us has experienced its blight on someone we love. So many lives have been touched by the disease, including our colleagues here at Riverside.
“Our staff have shown outstanding commitment, generosity and dedication to help us raise this money which will help make a real difference in the fight against cancer.”
Money raised will be used by CRUK to help fund life-saving research to prevent cancer, diagnose it early and develop new treatments.
Polly Williams from CRUK added: “On behalf of everyone at Cancer Research UK, thank you to every single person who joined in the fight to beat cancer sooner. The fundraising that staff have organised and taken part in will make such a big difference. With your hard work and support, you have helped Cancer Research UK bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. It has been great hearing about all the fundraising events happening at Riverside. Thank you to you all.”