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The Dell Technologies Management Challenge : Adventure Racing in the Brecon Beacons to raise funds for The Brain Tumour Charity  

A team from The Brain Tumour Charity headed to the Black Mountains near Hay-on-Wye on June 9th, to boldly tackle the Dell Technologies Management Challenge with Run 4 Wales.

The team from The Brain Tumour Charity get ready on their bicycles at the start of the Dell Technologies Management Challenge

What is the Dell Technologies Management Challenge?

Despite its picturesque location, this event is not for the faint hearted!  The Dell Technologies Management Challenge is a competitive two-day adventure race. It’s aimed at building team performance as well as having fun.  And it’s designed to be tough!  

Teams hike, run, mountain bike and canoe over 60 kilometres in the Brecon Beacons (renamed Bannau Brycheiniog in April this year).  An archery challenge is also in the mix.  And it’s not just about physical fitness, either – logic puzzles and brain teasers also feature!

The Brain Tumour Charity was honoured to be chosen as this year’s Charity Partner for the event. This happened after being put forward by Richard Rawcliffe, from Dell Technologies.

The event has so far raised a staggering £53,000 for Northern Joe’s Fund, the Supporter Group set up by Richard and his family in memory of son Joe.  (Read Joe’s story below).

Our Charity Team

Staff members Annie, Evie, David, and Matthew were joined by Charity volunteers Victoria and Sheree to make up The Brain Tumour Charity team.  They lined up alongside teams from Dell Technologies, LinkedIn, boxxe, CDW, VMware, Computacenter, London Marathon Events, Wells Fargo, Intel Corporation, Exertis and Softcat plc.

2023’s event marked the first time any charity team has taken on the challenge!

Team Leader Annie Edwards, Prospect and Research Officer at The Charity, admitted that parts of the challenge were particularly tough:

“There were moments during the uphill mountain bike climbs where I thought,” I can’t do this – I’m going to get stuck in the wilderness and Mountain Rescue are going to have to come and get me!” But with perseverance, good team communication and the kindness of others, we got over the hurdles. And I think that was inspired by our two volunteers, Sheree and Victoria, knowing what hardship they had been through losing loved ones to brain tumours.  I thought, if they can go through that and stay so strong, then I can do this!”

There were moments during the uphill mountain climbs where I thought, I can’t do this! Mountain Rescue are going to have to come and get me! But with perseverance, good team communication and the kindness of others, we got over the hurdles.

Team Leader, Annie Edwards

Matthew Beagley, from The Charity’s Support and Information Team, added:

“The weekend certainly was tough, especially with the uphill climbs and the heat.  We came together well as a team, and got each other from start to finish. We were so grateful to be the charity selected this year, and it’s safe to say ourselves and others left feeling inspired and motivated to continue spreading awareness and raising funds to support the work The Charity continues to do.”

Two members of The Brain Tumour Charity team smile on a hillside during the Dell Technologies Management Challenge
The Brain Tumour Charity team smile after cycling up one of the Breacon Beacons

Before the challenge started, there was time for valuable awareness-raising. Richard Rawcliffe, father of Joe, and volunteers Victoria and Sheree took to the stage to share their personal stories of how they have been touched by brain tumours. Annie said:

“It was clear that they touched everyone in the room; throughout the weekend, participants were approaching our team to praise Victoria and Sheree, and some even shared their own stories of being personally affected. I think these stories may have been the motivation for the final fundraising push. By the end of the weekend, we were on £53,000 and counting – the highest fundraising total ever achieved by the Dell Technologies Management Challenge!”

When the challenge ended, the team were honoured to be awarded the Run 4 Wales Spirit award, for team spirit! Annie said:

“We may not have been the fastest team but we loved every minute of it, and were honoured to win the Spirit Award for team spirit!

“We knew that we would finish the race together, or not at all.  Any time a team member was struggling, someone would always be there to support them and we made sure to keep our spirits up with music, snacks and good humour. “A huge thank you to Run4Wales, Dell Technologies and all the teams, not just for making us feel so welcome but for raising a tremendous amount for The Brain Tumour Charity.

Supporting Northern Joe’s Fund

Richard Rawcliffe, from Dell Technologies, is the reason that we were this year’s event partner.  A sum of £53,000 has been raised for Northern Joe’s Fund, the Supporter Group set up by the Rawcliffe family in memory of son Joe.

Joe’s Story

Joe smiles while wearing a beanie hat
A picture of Joe, who passed away at 26 from a brain tumour
A picture of Joe and his father sitting in a field

Joe died at the age of 26 in January 2020 from an aggressive brain tumour, which was only discovered in the days before he died.

After starting to feel unwell in September 2019, Joe made several visits to his GP which resulted in various blood tests, an endoscopy, two or three different drugs and a partial diagnosis of acid reflux. His symptoms, which worsened over the next few weeks, included bowel and bladder problems, a reduced level of mobility, an inability to swallow, and slurred speech. On 18th December 2019, his parents in desperation took him to A&E, and a scan revealed a mass on his brainstem and spine.

Richard explains: “We were initially told there was no need for immediate concern. As the hospital was short staffed over the holidays it was only when a neurosurgeon came back into work on the 29th December and saw the scans did somebody realise just how serious the situation was.

“Within 48 hours a full team had been assembled and on New Year’s Eve Joe underwent a 6-hour operation to try and remove as much of the tumour as possible. Joe had been sedated and intubated the day before as he had become very agitated due to a combination of the news he was receiving and the drug regime he was on. Sadly, we never got a chance to speak to him again.”

Northern Joe’s Fund was set up by Joe’s family to raise funds and awareness of the need for faster diagnosis, in the hope that other families could have their loved ones diagnosed earlier, and experience better outcomes. Richard said:

“Joe was amazing, funny, gifted, compassionate, loving and faithful.  His passing has left an indescribable hole in our lives. It is also the loss of potential that we mourn, he will never fulfil all that he could have been, will never marry or have children or live the life he should have.

“We understand how difficult it can be to diagnose and treat brain tumours and that the outcomes are often difficult for all concerned. We believe that an early diagnosis can give people the best chance of a positive outcome as well as giving families and loved one’s time to come to terms with what is happening.

Anyone wishing to donate to The Brain Tumour Charity’s Team page can do so here:

The Brain Tumour Charity team celebrate after completing the Dell Technologies Management Challenge

Become a corporate partner

Our partners are so important to us – every day they help us to get closer to a world where brain tumours are defeated.  If this sounds like something your company would be interested in, find out more here: