Polar explorer sets out to help cancer patients

Rob Smith
Rob Smith

A former student of the Royal Latin School in Buckingham is trekking to the South Pole to help cancer patients.

Rob Smith, 42, has embarked on a polar expedition that makes him the first British explorer to travel a new route across the Antarctic to the South Pole since Sir Ernest Shackleton, 100 years ago, and he is hoping to raise £50,000 for Cancer Research UK.

A few years ago Rob’s best friend, Neil, was diagnosed with oesophagus and lung cancer and given only a few weeks to live.

Sadly, Neil passed away in 2012 leaving a wife and newborn baby. Just over a month later, Rob’s mother Maureen passed away after a 25-year battle with multiple cancers. One month later, Rob then found himself diagnosed with cancer. Having undergone surgery and chemotherapy and an extensive two-year battle, he eventually overcame the disease.

Rob resolved to fight back against the disease by finding ways to raise money for research, and discovered Icetrek, a company that organises polar expeditions and uses experienced polar guides such as the renowned adventurer Eric Philips, who has supported Rob on his expeditions.

Jo Ballantine, Royal Latin School director of development, said: “We were so pleased when Rob got in touch to tell us about his endeavours. We’ve been in touch with him in Antarctica in the last few days, and will be following his progress closely. We very much look forward to Rob visiting us in 2017, to share his courageous adventure with our students.”

Information about supporting him, through his Just Giving page, along with news about the progress of his expedition can be found at www.trek2poles.com