Skip to main content
Sun 06 Aug 2023

FAW’s Carys Ingram is “Together Stronger” for 80 years of Team Tenovus Cancer Care

It’s December 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, and a young woman is travelling to University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, for major surgery on her spine.

Carys Ingram, 24, is making the journey from her home near Aberdare for the risky op. Covid restrictions are in place, she’s alone, and terrified. Not even her closest relatives can visit her.

A cyst placing increasing pressure on Cary’s spinal cord, causing numbness in her limbs, and greatly impacting her daily life, must be removed by surgeons.

Carys is in a dark place. There are many days she can’t get out of bed and dress herself without help. She’s lost her job and feeling lonely and desperate.

Fast forward to 2023 and Carys in a very different place after the surgery went well. She has a new job and is bursting with positively for the future. 

“Looking back, I suffered from depression, anxiety, even suicidal thoughts, said Carys.  

“I was at an age when you just want to be independent, and that got stripped away from me quickly. It’s been a massive journey from there to now.”

Now working for the FAW, Carys has a new lease of life making football accessible to all in communities across Wales as the Equality, Diversity, Inclusion, and Integrity Executive.

Against all the odds she’s also in training for the Cardiff Half Marathon and will line up alongside a team of 29 supportive colleagues as one.

 “I’ve started my training and I’m doing it mostly by myself. No-one understands where my body has been better than I do. I need to build up my muscles again, I’ve been running outside and running in the gym, as well as strength training. I’ve done two 5K races and a muddy run, and I’ll be doing the Swansea 10K race. It’s been a massive journey, but such a positive one.”

Running for Tenovus Cancer Care is important for Carys and her teammates.

“Everyone in our organisation knows someone, or has known someone, with cancer. They’ve seen the suffering, grief, and the loss cancer can cause.

Many of my colleagues come from smaller towns across Wales. Tenovus works in these communities. They take Mobile Support Units into those communities, so people with cancer can be treated on their doorsteps.

The Units are welcoming, with music and bright pictures. They take away the barrier of travelling to hospital, which can be quite a negative and frightening experience - it’s a community service that is very much aligned with the values of the FAW.”

Personal experience of cancer is sadly common in the “together stronger” team.  

Also running is Sam Lloyd whose mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 when he was at university. He thought he was going to lose her, but with treatment, she pulled through. Hayley Naughton has also recently lost someone to cancer too, along with family members and friends in the past.

As for Carys, her grandmother had cancer, and her grandfather is dealing with cancer in the present. Together, her team is aiming to raise over £10,000.

They won’t be alone as a further 50 runners, all with their unique stories, wear our trademark t-shirts to champion the cause.

It’s fitting the race will take place in Wales’ capital, where eight decades ago ten men with a vision and big hearts set up the charity, making it an extra special year.

It’s something Carys feels proud of.

“At the FAW we have the tagline ‘Together. Stronger’. It’s a way of living. Our Y Wal Goch are our football fans. Each makes an individual brick of that wall, but when they come together, it’s a complete – a strong wall.

We share our Welsh roots with Tenovus Cancer Care, and we both place community spirit and families at the heart of all we do, that’s so relatable. People feel moved by that, and their family members might also need Tenovus Cancer Care one day.”

Reaching the finish line will be major achievement for Carys, who ran her first half marathon in 2016 long before her surgery. 

“There will be tears of joy. It’s going to be a big mental challenge, and the physical challenge has been happening for months now, she said.

“Crossing the line with the organisation is going to be such a special thing. We’ll all have done it together, and we know that the money raised is going to help so many people. We’re doing it for those people, and for the people that we know.

All the stress and the grief we carry, we can work through that by being part of the half marathon, making us hungrier to keep going raising awareness and funds for Tenovus Cancer Care.”  

Tenovus Cancer Care is in a unique partnership with The Red Wall/Y Wal Goch where £1 is donated directly to the charity from every new membership.

Update:

Congratulations to the whole FAW team for completing the race on Sunday 1 October. They raised a whopping £10,699.80, beating their fundraising target. Diolch yn fawr iawn! 

If you or someone you love has been affected by cancer, our free Support Line is there for you. Just call 0808 808 1010