A kayaker will cross the Irish Sea in honor of his sister as he follows in his father’s remarkable footsteps
A man will cross the Irish Sea in a kayak to raise money for a disability charity in honor of his sister who has been diagnosed with incurable cancer.
Andy Williams, 50, and his childhood friend Steve Miles, will cross the Irish Sea from Holyhead to Greystones in Ireland and return in an 18ft kayak next month to raise money for Mencap Mon, a group on Anglesey established 50 years ago. by a group of parents for their sons and daughters with learning disabilities.
Mr. Williams’ sister, Yvonne, was born with phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare but potentially serious inherited condition, which means it couldn’t break down the amino acid phenylalanine.
This causes them to pool in his blood and brain, which can lead to brain damage and behavioral difficulties.
She was also diagnosed with uncurable blood cancer in November 2019 and was treated at Ysbyty Gwynedd and Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.
All money raised during the trip will be shared between Mencap Mon and Alaw Ward at Bangor Hospital.
Initially, the event was held in January 2020, but Covid-19 then struck and had to be postponed.
The idea came from Mr Williams’ father and uncle Brian and Jimmy, who rowed from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead in 1972 to raise funds for the Cefni Home for the Disabled in honor of Yvonne, then five years old.
Initially, his uncle Jimmy wanted to take on the challenge on his own but his father refused to let him use his boat until Brian told him he would take it too.
The duo, without any training, embarked on the 65-mile journey in a 14-foot boat, which took nearly three days due to dense fog and strong winds that caused them to deviate from their course.
It was the first time in recorded history that such a small boat was used to cross the Irish Sea.
Sadly, Mr Williams’ father committed suicide in 1994, which is another reason he wanted to paddle a similar route to his father’s in 1972.
Mr Williams said: “Yvonne has the mind of a child but she is so strong-willed and strong. Nothing puts her in tune.
âShe was diagnosed with cancer in November 2019 and early on we were told she would not survive 12 months, but she is still here.
âWe were told to make the most of the time we had with her.
âShe doesn’t understand what’s wrong. We tell her that she has bad blood and that when she has her chemo injections it will help improve her blood.
âAs long as she responds to the injections, she is fine, but once her body rejects them, things deteriorate.
âYvonne was the pride and joy of my father and he was his idol.
âNow that he’s gone, she answers me for him.
âI know my dad will watch me and I know he will be proud.
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âShe understands that I go kayaking and that I do it for her and her friends.
âWhat they’re doing at Mencap Mon is pretty amazing and they’re doing it for nothing. Everything is voluntary.
âIt is managed by a dedicated team of volunteers of which Yvonne has been a part for over 40 years.
âThe time and effort these volunteers put in are extraordinary and the hub is a place where they can all meet for a drink, a game of bingo and just get together to chat.
Donate for Andy’s journey across the Irish Sea please click here.