Skills Matter and the £6,000 Arctic Circle Fundraising Challenge

James Chesters — Skills Matter’s fearless community marketing manager — is hoping for a rather chilly reception in the Arctic tundra next March when he swaps his car for a pack of huskies!

James will be raising donations for Macmillan Cancer Support, by taking part in The Arctic Circle Dog Sledding Challenge.

Visit if you would like to help James towards his £6,000 fundraising target

In his day job, James is more used to raise awareness for a cause or topic from behind his desk: helping lots of people in Skills Matter’s community find out about talks, courses or conferences on social media and event portals — but in the spring he will swap his desk and online social media networks for The Arctic Challenge! He will be sledding over 200 kilometres from a base camp into the wilds of Norway to raise awareness for the cause of Macmillan Cancer Support and to raise £6,000 worth of donations

He said: “Macmillan Cancer Support improves the lives of people affected by cancer, and the illness has directly affected my own family.

In 2008, my aunt Margie Frankham succumbed to cancer after a long battle with the illness, and in 2010, my uncle John Chesters was the victim of an aggressive brain cancer

This trip seems like a fitting way to remember both my aunt Margie and my uncle John, who were my Dad’s two oldest siblings — and are very much missed.”

The Arctic Circle Dog Sledding Challenge runs from 5 March to 11 March, 2012, and James, who hiked the Inca Trail in 2009 raising £4,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support, will compete in the gruelling 5-day challenge with a small group of no more than a dozen other participants, who will also learn how to feed and care for their team of dogs.

Even when taking into account the help of local fitness trainer Matt Wolstenholme; James is under no illusions about how tough the going will be.

When reminded of the rigours ahead of him, James said: “I had to be fit when I trekked the South American Andes, but dog sledding is a whole other level! There will be times when I fall off and have to run after it, and then at other times, when we’re going uphill, I’ll have to get behind it and push… Considering the most running I normally do is running a bath, it’s not going to come easy to me.”

In the UK alone, one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime and over two million people are currently living with cancer. Macmillan is a UK charity providing the expert care and practical and emotional support which is changing the lives of people living with cancer today.

Money raised by James will be used to help fund specialist Macmillan nurses and doctors who deliver the best in cancer care, build vitally needed cancer care centres and give financial help to those who need it most.

2011 is the 100th anniversary of Macmillan, and this year Macmillan will be making its biggest ever contribution, of £10 million, towards the new University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre. The cancer centre will be the first of its kind in the NHS and will redefine the ways patients are treated, using the best diagnostic and treatment techniques to improve survival rates. Every detail of the centre has been designed around the needs of individual patients with more focus on the best treatments, well-being, rehabilitation and cancer survivorship.

The centre will open in 2012 and cost £100 million to build. Macmillan will provide a Wellbeing Centre within the building where people affected by cancer can find the best information and support, including advice around coping with personal and financial impact of cancer and returning to work. The Wellbeing Centre will also provide access to complementary therapies, and services to address the physical and emotional affects of cancer at every stage – from diagnosis until after treatment has ended.

“I had originally hoped to be able to get a number of donations of £100 from companies in London to help me towards the £6,000 target, but I have to admit now that may have been more than a little optimistic” James continues. “I’ve already had some generous donations from colleagues and friends, and people I know through work but there’s a long way to go.”

I’d like to appeal for anyone I know or have worked with, including Skills Matter community members, local businesses and other organisations for any help you can offer me and Macmillan Cancer Support. To be completely honest, I feel more than a little intimidated by the target right now — but I know it must be nothing compared to living with cancer.”

The Arctic Circle Dog Sledding Challenge runs from 5 March to 11 March, 2012.

Show your support today!

Visit if you would like to help James towards his £6,000 fundraising target.

James and Macmillan Cancer Support really appreciate all the donations and support you can provide!

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