Event Review: Climb of Life 2018

One step at a time.


On 2 November 2018, another Climb of Life (COL) fundraising year ended with over 100 intrepid trekkers from the UK business supplies industry taking to the mountains of England’s Lake District to try and break another record.

The short-term aim? To raise another £100,000+ ($127,000) in order to reach a milestone £1 million over the past 12 years for the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR). The long-term goal? To help cure cancer and rid the world of this dreadful disease that affects and devastates so many of us.

At the end of a long and gruelling day in the mountains – but for once occasionally sunny and beautiful, rather than atrociously wintery – the first objective was achieved in some style and to much celebration. COL 2018 raised a total of £103,000, beating all prior fundraising years and resulting in the resounding success of the £1 million challenge.

Making progress

The second goal is clearly much more difficult and a long way off but, as Professor Paul Workman, CEO of the ICR who’s been taking part in COL for the past four years with his wife Liz, says: “The £1 million raised so far from COL continues to make a huge difference at the ICR as we work to achieve our mission of making the discoveries that defeat cancer. The support is especially important if we are to overcome our greatest challenge – the ability of cancers to adapt, evolve and become resistant to treatment. On behalf of the whole of the ICR, I want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone involved.”

While the actual mountain climb is the culmination of the annual COL, much of the hard, non-physical work is carried out throughout the year, as many of the participating individuals and companies can testify to. This year again, OPI was the top fundraiser, with a sum of £27,000 raised, followed by Hamelin Brands and its UK team. Long-standing supporter VOW, meanwhile, was the headline sponsor of the initiative, contributing not only much-needed funds, but also invaluable background help.

Part of Team OPI was once again CEO Steve Hilleard, who said: “We are all busy dealing with the challenges this industry is throwing at us and there are plenty of them for all channels in the supply chain. But what could be more rewarding than handing over another £100,000+ cheque to the ICR? It will hopefully go a small way towards aiding those who need it the most and create a brighter future for them. I feel privileged to be part of the COL community and, quite frankly, ‘business as usual’ can wait compared to what we can achieve as part of this fantastic initiative.”

Hilleard is not alone in his outlook and, indeed, COL founder Graeme Chapman MBE highlights the outstanding commitment, loyalty and determination of the many long-time supporters – both on the front line, so to speak, but also behind the scenes. He also points out how COL still manages to recruit new people: “We had many of our usual supporters this year, but we also had 30 new faces who experienced their first COL. Bringing in new blood is terrific and I cannot overstate how important this is and how humbled I am by this joint effort of our industry. To exceed the previous year’s fundraising again and for the fifth year in a row raise over £100,000 is incredible and something I never thought possible. Thank you.”