Cancer survivor shrugs off fear of heights and dedicates fundraising wing walk to terminally-ill cousin
A cancer survivor who defied her fear of heights to complete a daring wing walk has dedicated the challenge to her terminally-ill cousin.
Devoted and inspirational fundraiser Ali Alcock, of Corwen, has raised thousands of pounds for Macmillan Cancer Support as she helps repay the support she received from nurses when diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2015.
Ali followed up a previous sky dive challenge by taking to the skies in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, as she bravely stood on the wing of a plane thousands of feet in the air for an adrenaline-fuelled wing walking fundraiser.
The wing walk was sponsored by Ifor Williams Trailers, with the fundraising tally significantly enhanced by a £5,000 donation from company director Carole Williams.
Ali has dedicated the challenge to her beloved cousin, Mark ‘Weeksy’ Weeks, of Johnstown, near Wrexham, who was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour earlier this year.
Ali donned a ‘Wing Walk for Weeksy’ T-shirt and even wore a pair of Welsh boxer shorts during the challenge as a tribute to the former paratrooper, who has received a letter of support from Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer since his diagnosis.
Ali, who admits to having a fear of heights, stood on the wing with a leaning post for company as she flew above Gloucestershire for more than 10 minutes at an estimated height of 5,000ft to 10,000ft.
“I am chuffed to bits that I have done this challenge,” said Ali, a social worker for Denbighshire County Council.
“I am petrified of heights so this was not going to be easy for me. But, as with the sky dive last year, I believed I should be out of my comfort zone if people were donating money.
“I was buzzing after I had done it and I would recommend it to anyone. But I won’t be rushing to do it again.”
Ali has particularly strong reasons for wanting to provide a funding boost for Macmillan Cancer Support.
She has credited a routine smear test in 2015 as having helped save her life, as it led to her being diagnosed with cervical cancer and undergoing a hysterectomy.
Ali was given the all-clear and has dedicated much of her spare time since then to paying back Macmillan Cancer Support for the help nurses provided while she was receiving treatment.
She has also seen other close family members receive a cancer diagnosis.
Her father, Barry Jones, who cheered Ali on as she took to the skies for her wing walking mission, has been given the all-clear after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
But the family has also had to contend with the devastating terminal diagnosis earlier this year of Ali’s much-loved cousin, Mark ‘Weeksy’ Weeks.
The charismatic former paratrooper, 52, was never far from Ali’s thoughts as she took to the skies.
She said: “It has been a difficult time since Mark was diagnosed, but he is the bravest and strongest person that I know.
“He has been through so much and yet he has such a positive outlook.
“It was appropriate to dedicate a challenge like this to him as he used to be a paratrooper.
“He has always been so full of life, active and fit. He was the kind of guy who would come off a nightshift and would then would go and walk up Snowdon while wearing his Welsh boxer shorts.
“As a tribute to him I also wore a pair of them during the challenge. He’s got a cracking sense of humour and I know he’s seen the funny side of it.”
Another uplifting moment for Manchester United fan Mark came after Ali made contact with the Premier League giants.
Mark swiftly received a letter from the club’s manager and former striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, showing they were thinking of him.
Ali, who was also supported at the challenge by her 28-year-old son Danny Jones and her best friend Steph Griffiths, has become an active fundraiser for Macmillan Cancer Support.
She had set a target of £5,000 for the year, but this has been smashed thanks to the support of the public and also a particularly generous donation of 5,000 from Carole Williams, a director of Ifor Williams Trailers.
This came on top of the leading trailer firm donating £500 sponsorship to enable the wing walk to take place.
“I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the support I receive from Ifor Williams Trailers,” said Ali.
“They are a fantastic organisation. It’s not just me they support, there are a lot of other good causes they also help out.
“The amount of money I have raised this year is significantly higher than it would have been without Carole’s extremely generous donation. She also sent me a really nice letter which I was very grateful for.”
Ali is also full of praise for the support she has been receiving from the public, including from across Denbighshire and Wrexham.
She said: “I’m already starting to think now of what fundraising I do for Macmillan next year.”
Carole Williams from Ifor Williams Trailers congratulated Ali on the success of her wing walk.
She said: “Ali is an inspirational woman and we are proud to have had the opportunity to sponsor her fantastic fundraising efforts.
“She defied her own fear of heights to take to the skies for the wing walk and her courage and determination is an example to us all.”
For more information or to sponsor Ali visit her justgiving page, entitled Ali Alcock – The Big C Part 5 at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alison-alcock3