Big-hearted bakers have risen to the challenge to raise money for the family of a young man with inoperable cancer.
The team at the Village Bakery’s two sites in Wrexham and Minera donned their pyjamas in aid of Ceri Dawson, 28, and his family.
Ceri, from Coedpoeth, was given the devastating diagnosis just days before his first child was born and as he and wife, Catrin, 26, were about to celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary.
His brother, Ashley, who is the firm’s business and sustainability executive, is currently walking the length of Wales with two friends to raise money for the couple and Christie Hospital in Manchester where Ceri is undergoing a third session of chemotherapy.
They are due to complete the 10-day walk in Prestatyn on Sunday when Ceri and Catrin’s little boy, Cai James Dawson, will be two weeks old.
Ashley’s colleague, Catherine Bletcher an account manager at the Village Bakery, said: “We wanted to do something that involved all the team, involving production as well, and raise as much money as we can, so we decided to all come in our pyjamas.
“We’ve also had a raffle and we’ve had some fantastic prizes donated to us. There’s a framed rugby shirt, a football shirt, there’s an Elvis record, lots of wine and chocolates, loads of goodies and meal vouchers. People have been very generous.
“I think it’s a testament really to how much everybody thinks of Ashley here – it’s the least we could do to help really.
“I think it’s especially hit home with some of the younger people here because Ceri’s our age and it’s really sad. It’s awful.
“I know this won’t make the heartache any easier but hopefully it can make the family’s lives a bit easier.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Bret Rogers, the new product development manager.
“Ashley is one of our valued team members, and the news he’s had is tragic. I’m a dad myself. I’ve got two sons, 10, and seven, so family is a big part of my life, and I’d like to support Ceri and his family in any way I can.
Supply chain manager Katherine Ashcroft added: “I feel that cancer affects all of us unfortunately, whether it’s us, a friend or a family member, and it’s just so sad that Ashley’s brother is so young. But the baby has been born and that’s lovely, so he’s inspired by that, so we need to do all we can.
“Everybody here has been deeply touched by what’s happened and the response from all the team at the Village Bakery, from the top to the bottom, has been fantastic.”
Managing director Robin Jones said: “I am proud of the way everybody has pulled together to raise money for Ceri’s young family.
“He is a fine and very courageous young man and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.”
Ceri, who had been having pains in his left arm, was about to fully qualify as a PE teacher when he collapsed at home.
He was taken to hospital and later diagnosed with pleomorphic soft tissue sarcoma – a rare type of cancer.
An online appeal has already raised more than £16,000 for the family.
Ashley and his fellow walkers, Liam Stokes-Massey, 30, and Tom Breeze, 27, from Wrexham, who has joined them for half of it are on course to finish on Sunday and colleagues from the Village Bakery will be out with buckets raising money during the final stretch.
Ashley said: “Ceri has started his third lot of chemo this week and is very positive.
“He and his wife, Cat are incredibly grateful for everyone’s support over the last month as are myself and Liam.”
“It has been awesome to see my colleagues at the Village Bakery all pulling together to help raise even more funds. I got sent a photo of everyone in their PJs and it really lifted our spirits.”
Anybody wanting to make a donation to Ceri and his family can do so via https://www.gofundme.com/CeriDawson