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Spicing Up a Cause: Friends Take on Chilli Eating Challenge for Bowel Cancer UK In Memory Of Loved One

On Saturday, August 5th, the Dorset Chilli Festival will host an extraordinary event that goes beyond the thrill of spice and heat. Steven Brady and his friend Graham are participating in the festival’s Chilli Eating Competition, not just for the adrenaline rush or the title but for a noble cause. They will be enduring the fiery challenge to raise funds for Bowel Cancer UK in loving memory of Steven’s partner, Hannah’s sister, Sarah.

Sarah’s battle with Bowel Cancer was a heart-wrenching journey that touched the lives of all who knew her. In early 2022, she received the devastating diagnosis of late-stage Bowel Cancer, which was even more tragic as their father had succumbed to the same illness 16 years prior. Her tumours were deemed inoperable, but she showed great strength and resilience during her chemotherapy treatment, responding remarkably well.

Miraculously, after several rounds of Chemo, in March, the medical team decided that Sarah had made enough progress to undergo surgery to remove the tumour, or at least most of it. The operation was successful in removing the tumour, but fate had other plans. Complications arose a week later, and Sarah contracted COVID and an infection during her hospital stay. Her condition deteriorated rapidly, and she had to be put into an induced coma to fight for her life.

Sarah’s willpower shone through, as she eventually emerged from the coma, although weak and frail. The medical team decided to give her body time to recover before considering further actions, and she was moved between the hospital and a hospice during this period.

Steven, driven by the love and memories of Sarah, has already undertaken charitable efforts before, participating in the Coast to Coast event for the Parents and Childrens Trust (PACT) last year. “When I was doing Coast to Coast for the Parents and Childrens Trust (PACT) last year, I had to leave on 14th June after 9 days, as Sarah had taken a turn and the Hospice said she wasn’t going to fully recover from the operation and that there wasn’t anything else they could do.

“Three days after coming home, she married her partner Malcolm with a small celebration in their garden on 15th June. Ten days later on 25th June at just gone 7 in the evening, she passed away, she was 39”

This time, he teams up with his good friend Graham again to enter the Dorset Chilli Festival’s Chilli Eating Competition, aiming to raise funds and awareness for Bowel Cancer UK.

The competition itself is no ordinary feat. Ten brave contestants will face ten grueling rounds, where they will be given whole chillies to eat within five minutes. Steven told us “Competition is at about 4 pm if people want to come down and cheer us on. It’s about £5 entry on the gate. Big ol’ Beer Tent right next to it, so it’s great fun (to watch).”

“Ten Contestants, Ten Rounds. You get given a single whole chili and you must eat all of it other than the stem within five minutes to proceed to the next round.”

“They sit you down with a pint of milk in front of you; If you quit, you’re out. If you drink the milk, you’re out. If you throw up, you’re out. If you don’t eat the chili whole, you’re out.”

“You start with things like Jalapenos and slowly move up through heat, Birds Eye Chillis, Scotch Bonnets, Habanero, Bhut Jolokias (Ghost Chillis), Naga’s, Trinidad Scorpions, and finally the Hottest Chillies in the world, Carolina Reapers.”

“Again, these are eaten RAW and whole. Skin, seeds, membrane, the whole thing.”

“I don’t know how well I’m going to do, me and Graham have done absolutely no training whatsoever, but we’re going to give it our best shot and see how much we can do.”

“Either way, the pain is going to be horrific. You have to sign a safety waiver before you even enter, it’s that dangerous.”

For those willing to support Steven and Graham in their noble cause, a JustGiving page has been set up for donations at Every contribution, no matter how small, will make a difference in the fight against Bowel Cancer, supporting research, awareness, and patient care.

The Dorset Chilli Festival’s Chilli Eating Competition on August 5th will not just be a display of spice tolerance but a tribute to the strength of the human spirit, a celebration of Sarah’s life, and a gesture of hope for those affected by Bowel Cancer. Whether you attend the event to cheer on the contestants or contribute through the JustGiving page, your support will be a powerful symbol of solidarity and love in the face of adversity.