Day 77 has seen 4 miles walked, the church Christmas cards delivered, an upper body session in the gym and a hugely inspirational meeting with thousands of pounds raised. 

A 2 mile walk first thing with Georgie which taken after a straight 6 hours sleep 2 nights in a row proved to be a lovely clear headed number by torchlight and gave me time to think through today. Important because I had a really exciting meeting this morning.  So children fed and off to school I sat to make sure I was ready for the very first quarterly meeting of the Unincorporated Charitable Association of the Beat The Beast Challenge. This association, governed by a covenant, consists entirely of The challenge accountants from Webb and Wallace, the delightful Joe and Elizabeth and my cousin Nick and I. The association ensures, in line with my guarantee to you that every penny raised and so generously donated by you goes directly to the 5 charities I am fundraising for and as I have no access to the accounts it is essential that we get together to action the quarterly shift of funds raised to the charities while at the same time have a clear understanding, as a board, of what the challenge has done, where it is going and why, in order to enable the challenge to make best use of the expertise and advice available from Elizabeth and Joe on financial accountancy aspects and from Nick on the broader management issues based on his decades of experience managing charitable concerns, as the challenge starts to grow in size and scope. 

I have lots of ideas for the future and the good news is that the website is starting to take shape and will of course broaden the appeal of the challenge to those who don’t like Facebook so the numbers of followers can and will continue to grow. As we discussed the scope of the challenge it became clear to me that there was a lack of an understanding of the achievements of the challenge beyond the stated aim of asking people to sponsor me to take on activity designed to improve my chances of Beating the Beast (Brain Tumour) 5 days a week. 4 weeks a month for as long as ever I can, in order to raise as much money as possible for the five nominated charities and thereby improving the lives and life chances of so many more people. This bit is going really well and building in numbers of supporters and sponsors day by day. But the bit that has given me the most encouragement to keep going, that has been proving worthwhile beyond the raising of funds, which is of course in itself is a noble and essential task, is the inspiration and encouragement that my simple writings seem to be giving to an increasing number of brilliant and courageous people engaged in their own battles, for so many different reasons, but so many of whom I have never met before. To illustrate this point I gave a reading of my post from last night with the brilliant advice and encouragement from my dear friend in it. Once I had finished there was barely a dry eye in the meeting room. My simple writings really do have impact and have given me an idea for the very near future!!

Last night I thanked my friend for her advice and repeat that vote of thanks below for you all. Because I shortly reveal the amount raised so far.

Eighteen months ago, I felt in discussion with my dear friend and partner in this particular project, that I just had to resign as the CEO of the Future Nation Foundation, a Not for Profit, designed to remove the element of chance that too often permeates the very life chances of our vulnerable young people, because my treatment plan and forecast prognosis was quite rightly holding back any funding offers on the belief that I was unlikely to be focused on delivering the stated outcomes of the Future Nation Foundation While battling through treatment and any degradation in cognitive and motor capability. I could remain as an ambassador to the organisation but what else therefore could I do to make sure I made the most out of every day God gave me? I was already therefore in a dark place but was so very fortunate to have been given such clear direction, as I sat at my desk pondering what to do, with these two quotes which were brought to me through memories resurrected with a bit of help.

Rattling away in the brain was a quote I remembered my grandmother used to recite to me as a route to health and happiness and even wrote in the book of common prayer she gave me on the day of my confirmation. Not being able to remember the wording of the quote exactly I fetched the book and opened it up:

“Go forth in to the world. Be of good courage; Render to no man evil for evil; Strengthen the faint hearted; Support the weak; Help the afflicted; Honour all men; Love and Serve the Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit”

Wow – that got the brain working and when sat at the desk mulling this guidance over I saw the box of cards my son’s Godfather had given him for comfort and inspiration as I went in for my brain surgery. I opened the box and looked at the top card:

“Do all the Good you can by all the Means you can, in all the Places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can , for as long as ever you can.” — John Wesley

So the very concept of the challenge was born and I started to develop the idea. Friends and family thought it was great and before I knew it there was an outline plan to start next April when I was in theory going to be feeling better with higher energy levels having had time to recover from the treatment. We could launch the challenge properly by starting the Army Navy Rugby Match and having marching bands, dancing girls and even fireworks!! While I liked the idea, especially of the dancing girls! the whole plan just didn’t seem to be me. It just didn’t seem to tell the story of a wee man with a rubbish prognosis trying my best to do all the good I can by all the means that I can, in all the places that I can at all the times that I can, to all the people that I can , for as long as ever I can. In other words just to make the very best of every day God gives me. I was a little uncomfortable with this growing aspiration and next April felt like quite literally a lifetime away. Then I had a visit from a former boss and good friend. ‘Archie, ‘ he advised me. ‘I really like your concept of the challenge but do me a favour. Don’t put any pressure on yourself, remember that this is all about trying to heal yourself so set no targets, start very quietly, very slowly and just let it build slowly behind you.’ That was brilliant advice and all my concerns melted away. I knew exactly what to do and how to do it so sat and wrote myself some guidance for myself as a handrail to hold on to as I went through the deep troughs such treatment entailed. One of those quotes for guidance that I liked as a reminder as to how I was to approach the challenge was to:

‘Walk quietly and let your quiet aura be your inspiration and your achievements in God’s work an inspiration for others’

I had already gone through Brain Surgery, had had 30 radiotherapy treatments and on the 21st August 2015 was 10 months in to a year’s worth of Chemotherapy treatment. I could wait no longer. I went for a walk. Came home. Announced that I had started the challenge and Heather sat me down and showed me how to set up a community page saying ‘You really should be on facebook Dad’ She was absolutely right.

Because with no formal launch in 77 days I have
Gained 523 page likes.
Reached well over 1,000 people each week.
Covered 907 miles under my own steam.
Met and shaken the hands of 280 people.
Inspired and encouraged many more in so many ways.
And raised £5,395 which means that so far today I have raised £1,079 for each of the 5 charities so far which equates to £70.06 raised for every day I have managed to find the will and the energy to get up, get out there and do something worthwhile.

I could not have achieved all of the above without you all so I repeat my vote of thanks given to my dear friend last night for her encouragement but repeat it for you all as I truly mean it for you all:

Small Folk Playing Our Part

Thank you so very much a million times over. I have a friend who would pay me a thousand camels for a friendship like that which you give to me. It is your support and encouragement along with perfectly timed messages that help to keep me out of the Doldrums. Thank you for being the best friend that I think I have ever had, for coming to me and putting your faith in me, for staying by me when I needed a friend like you more than ever I had before. Thank you; for together we are achieving so very much.

Yours aye