Meningitis Now staff - Mark Hunt

Turning the slopes orange for Meningitis Now and #TeamTangerine

Mark Hunt | 27th May 2020

Even in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, Meningitis Now supporter Daniel still came up with a genius idea to undertake a meningitis awareness event for us. He tells us what he did:

Meningitis awareness event

"Sadly I lost my younger brother Ross to meningitis on 25 May 2013.

"As children and adults we shared good times, bad times, had fun, had fights, enjoyed holidays, got told off, got drunk, windsurfed, skateboarded, went camping, got in trouble, played video games and celebrated along with all the other things you do as a family, as parents and sons, as brothers. Then from absolutely nowhere in 2013 Ross got an earache that turned into something completely unexpected and was admitted to hospital. Ross was diagnosed with meningitis. 

"Following all the tests and examinations we lost Ross.

"As you can imagine a huge hole was left in our family, no Ross, no No.3 son (he was the youngest of three brothers), no little brother. A heartache that no parent, no sibling should have to go through.

"There is no cure for grief, for losing someone and time never heals it just slaps you in the face less and less and as brutal as it sounds life goes on. It has to, it should do. For a few years I struggled with the number 25 and the monthly date of the 25th really affected me, whilst also when the Christmas deodorant packs were put on shelves it made me cry (we always got each other one as a joke)  It's strange how these things affect you.

"My parents understandably struggle desperately with losing a son and 25 May is sadly a day that I don’t really talk to them about. I on the other hand decided that I will turn a really rubbish day into something more bearable, more positive by taking action and raising awareness.

Meningitis awareness event

"As a snowboard instructor and an employee of Chill Factore I decided I'd combine something I like doing with an awareness event and so the Team Tangerine Shred was born. The event has gathered pace over the years with more and more people attending. It’s a simple concept… ski or snowboard wearing as much orange as you can. We have turned the slopes orange over the years and it's an amazing sight seeing the lift line full of Meningitis Now t-shirts and then a wave of snowboarders sliding down the mountain. This event has never been about raising money but more about raising awareness. I dish out signs and symptoms cards and advise of the signs to look out for. 

"Over the years myself and my fiancé Nikki have fundraised through cake sales, Three Peaks Challenge (with Meningitis Now) and even threw myself out of a perfectly good aeroplane, however don’t like doing fundraisers every year as you tend to ask the same people for money. So after a few years off I decided upon an epic challenge of summiting Snowdon twice in one day followed by the full Snowdon horseshoe the next day. This however has had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"One week before I suddenly had a waking moment of another idea to still undertake a challenge. While Mt. Snowdon was not available Mt. Chill Factore was there, closed to the public but potentially available. I subsequently asked the CEO and as Chill Factore are an ace employer they have granted me special access to undertake my slightly different challenge (socially distanced of course – there will be nobody there).

"With a 15-degree gradient slope and a cool -5 degree Celsius temperature I - with Nikki and my son Edward (12 yrs) - will climb the snow covered slope the amount of times to reach the same height as Snowdon: 1,085m. This will be no mean feat given the slope will be icy and it is a constant gradient from start to finish. The distance will be approx. 8.5km.

"I can’t thank Chill Factore enough for supporting me and giving permission and opportunity especially during these unprecedented times. I also thank all those that have donated so far to our fundraising efforts, it really is very much appreciated and means the world to me.

"Like I said this is something I do that helps me turn a really desperately rubbish day into something more bearable."

We at Meningitis Now would like to thank Daniel for all of the vital awareness work he does, and now that this event is annual, we look forward to hearing about the next one.