Todmorden man and his three friends halfway through their fundraising mission in memory of his wife Janet

Former property agent Mike Rooney, of Todmorden, and his three friends are halfway through their 500-mile Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trek in a heartfelt fundraising challenge in memory of his wife Janet.
Mike with his wife JanetMike with his wife Janet
Mike with his wife Janet

The four fundraisers’ mission is to raise £100,000 for Manchester’s Christie charity to establish The Janet Rooney Fellowship, dedicated to advancing research in hepato-pancreatic biliary (HPB) cancer.

HPB cancer includes cancers that originate in the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and neuroendocrine system, made up of nerves and gland cells.

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Mike’s wife Janet died from bile duct cancer in April this year and was treated at The Christie hospital.

Nigel and Mike on their fundraising trekNigel and Mike on their fundraising trek
Nigel and Mike on their fundraising trek

In the past, Mike has undertaken marathons, parachuting, climbed Kilimanjaro and all sorts of other challenges and felt that this fundraising project should be something equally, if not more, demanding to raise as much money as possible, so he decided to tackle the Camino De Santiago.

Initially Mike’s plan was going to go it alone but before he knew it, his good friend Nigel Tobias from Hale - who was also good friends with Janet - plus two other friends, Paul Whitehurst in Stockport and David Brooks in London, also came on board.

The Camino de Santiago is a legendary pilgrimage route and is known for its spiritual significance and transformative experiences. The trek serves as the cornerstone of their fundraising efforts, uniting individuals and communities in their shared goal of making a difference.

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The walk started in France on Wednesday, September 20 and the team are now halfway across the trek, having walked eight hours each day.

“There has been a real sense of camaraderie with other walkers”, Nigel said. “We’ve experienced torrential rain and been soaked to the skin, but we’ve also had some glorious

weather and the scenery has been absolutely magnificent.

“What keeps us going is our strong bond of friendship. In life you are lucky if you can count the number of true friends on the fingers of one hand. Mike is one of those friends.

"Janet was a fabulous person, and this is our way of honouring her and her memory. However tough it gets; we would never think of giving up.”

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The trek ends in Santiago in North-West Spain, having taken a minimum of 35 days to complete.

Mike, 63, Nigel, 64, Paul, 61, and David, 68, have paid their own costs of travel, accommodation, food and kit, to guarantee that all of the monies raised will go to The Christie Charity and the Janet Rooney Fellowship.

In addition to the Camino de Santiago trek, Mike and Nigel have organised many other fundraising activities and events, including a fundraising pre-festive dinner and auction at The Midland Hotel, Manchester in November, which is already sold-out event.

"It’s been heartening and life-affirming to see all the donations flooding in and all the support we’ve received and I’m sure we’re going to reach our fundraising target of £100,000,” said Mike.

If you would like to donate, visit

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