THE plight of a colleague coping with a brain tumour and the rise in the number of people with the condition inspired a Bangor medic and his wife to do something to help.

Mel and Awen Jones, from Menai Bridge, are planning a 1200km (750 mile) bike ride across the length of France to raise money for brain tumour research.

They contacted the Chronicle after reading the story about Bethesda cafe owners and Kung Fu instructors Elena and Jake Fitzpatrick. Elena, 47, who is a mum of two, and was treated for a rare brain tumour.

Mel, who is 60, and a semi-retired consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon at Ysbyty Gwynedd, and his wife Awen, 59, wanted to let Elena and others know about their fundraising cycle ride for the Brain Tumour Charity.

Their ride, was initially a response to the illness of a former Ysbyty Gwynedd registered nurse Sarah Williams and due to the number of people they knew with the condition. Six years ago, Sarah, who is 52, and from Felinheli, suffered from seizures. She had a benign, inoperable brain tumour.

Radiotherapy shrank the tumour, enough that she could return to work, and drive, but last summer, an MRI scan revealed it had changed and had become malignant.

"Within nine days I started chemotherapy with the intent of stopping the malignant tumour from growing," said the mum of three.

"I will be on chemotherapy for as long as I can tolerate it."

"The last scan showed that the chemotherapy is working – the tumour has not grown – in fact it has shrunk which is very unusual and the best possible outcome.

"I have had to retire and I am making the very best of the situation. I am active and fit and enjoying life. My case shows the value of early diagnosis and highly focussed treatment.

"Without the funding and research of yesterday my outcome would have been very different. I hope people will support Mel and Awen and donate to their Just Giving page.

Mel, said: "We wanted to do something to help Sarah and people dealing with brain tumours. Fortunately, they are rare but we are know five people who are friends, colleagues and a family member affected.

"The incidence of the disease has increased by a third since the 1990s. It makes me wonder is there a factor in modern life responsible? Research into the disease and its treatment is what the charity is about and we think it’s a worthy cause for our fundraising and hope to raise £5,000."

The couple's route takes them from the French/Spanish Atlantic border at Hendaye, along the west coast of France, inland from Nantes to Roscoff and through Brittany. They will cycle 50 miles a day. Training for the ride has also included mountain walking and cycling in Snowdonia.

"We leave on Thursday, August 23 and will take the European Bike Express to Bayonne before making our way to Hendaye. From here the cycle route La Velodycee goes along the coast before heading inland to Nantes, to Brittany to Roscoff where we will get the ferry back to Portsmouth and home."

Mel and Awen previously cycled across Wales, the width of Portugal, the length of the Canal du Midi and from Lands End to John O’Groats, in 2014, raising over £6k for Cancer Research UK.Visit the couple's blog at and their JustGivng.