Meet The Team – WellChild Challenge Events

Posted on the 18th April 2019

Melanie Parker, Head of Challenge Events and Supporter Engagement, took 10 minutes out to chat to us about the WellChild Challenge Events team…


Hi Mel, can you tell me a bit about yourself and your role at WellChild?

I first started working at WellChild back in 2013 and love it here.  My role at WellChild is to support anyone who wants to take part in a challenge event for WellChild. We have charity places in some of the big events like London Marathon, RideLondon and Great North Run. And we also organise our own trekking challenges like Three Peaks Challenge and Trek the Lakes and can arrange an adrenaline challenge like a skydive.

 Wow, that’s a lot of events to choose from. How can our families get involved?

If you fancy a challenge but you need something more flexible, check out ‘Step up’, these are virtual challenges that are designed to fit around you and your family.

Four of our families have set challenges of different distances – so you pick the distance (5km, 21km, 52km or 257km) and decide how you want to do your challenge – run, cycle, walk, swim, jog with your buggy or take part in your wheelchair.  You can choose to do the distance all in one go, or spread it out over weeks or months – it’s up to you.  Each time you go out to cover some of the distance you simply record it on a fitness tracking app on your phone or watch.  Once you’ve completed your challenge, we will send you a very special medal lovingly designed by a family WellChild are supporting. More information about Step-Up can be found on our website here >>

That sounds like a lot of fun. How can families in the Family Tree help your team recruit new participants?

The income generated from our challenge events is vital for WellChild. If you know anyone who you think might be interested in any of our events or taking part in Step Up, please let them know, ask them to take a look at our website, share the links on your Facebook page and help us spread the word.

Our WellChild families have also helped by giving us permission to share their family journey with participants; it spurs them on massively during their training and fundraising, knowing exactly who they are doing it for (if you would like to know more about sharing your journey with us please contact

In a job like yours you must enjoy a challenge yourself, what’s the craziest challenge you have taken on?

Back in 2016 I was part of a team that did an expedition called Row2Rio – this involved cycling from London to South Portugal, rowing across the Atlantic to North Brazil and then cycling down Brazil into Rio.  Taking 5 months in total – with 2 months at sea in a small boat, that was definitely my craziest adventure to date!

Can you tell us a funny story from a WellChild challenge event?

We have a mascot outfit called Nessa the Nurse – the outfit makes the wearer 10 foot tall and she weighs 30kg! Every year one of our great WellChild supporters Anthony wears the outfit in the London Marathon and Great North Run.  This year he wore it to run in the Big Half (a half marathon around London).  The weather wasn’t great from the start but going through Canary Wharf a wind tunnel was created by some very strong winds which meant poor old Nessa spent a mile staggering side-ways and at one point had to be held up by three people to stop from toppling over!

What would you say to someone that has been thinking about doing a challenge event but may be a bit hesitant?

We know taking the plunge to sign up can be daunting but Step Up is a great place to start.  It’s only £10 to enter and it’s a great challenge to take part in with a friend – perhaps start with Noah’s 5km challenge!  Once you’ve signed up you’ve got that incentive to complete it, plus the added bonus of receiving a lovely medal at the end!

And finally, if you could take on any challenge what would it be?

Running is definitely not one of my strengths, so for me a marathon is definitely on my list of challenges to complete.

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