Wow, what a few weeks it has been. Firstly I have to say a huge thank you for all your wonderful comments of love, friendship, encouragement and support for Allie and I on meeting, in messages over facebook, in emails and cards. Thank you for the wonderful embrace we felt as we came to McLaren High to watch James in the Stirling Schools Musical concert, and then the Remembrance Sunday service and parade in Callander.
Allie has shown tremendous courage by taking me on and loving me despite the enormous weight of uncertainty that I come with. Allie has been my rock on which I could seek refuge, and my sea anchor keeping me straight on the path to healing as I sailed through the treacherous waters of post treatment blues. She gave me hope for the future. Allie has also been a wonderful advisor to me and the children. She has embraced all three of us whole heartedly so I thank you all for your warm embrace back. It has helped us to feel more certain about the future. Thank you. Thank you also to Scott at B&Q Stirling who was helping design the replacement kitchen for the flat and on hearing of my story and the challenge, just reached into his wallet and handed me some money and is now looking to see what he can do to help me raise awareness of the challenge further. Thank you also to Gary Mather for all his help, expert advice, time and physical work and hard graft in helping me refurbish the flat on budget.

Slowly, over the last few days it has dawned on me just how much work there is to be done: We have a wedding to plan, a brain tumour to stay firmly sat upon and keep beating, a flat to refurbish, a website to continue to develop into a ready reckoner of advice and guidance based from my own experience from my lessons learned for those facing their own beasts while trying to provide some hope, inspiration and encouragement in a belief that they can do it. That they can beat the beast with a little hard work and faith in their faith. To supplement that effort with video blogs and on top of all that I still have a book to write and perhaps most importantly a life to live to the full with Allie and the children. Memories to make that we can keep forever. This was enough to overface the most capable of individuals let alone a man struggling to hold onto anything in his head for longer than 5 minutes or so, a man struggling to do two things at once like hold a conversation while cooking, a man struggling to work on a computer for longer than 40 minutes without becoming all dizzy and disorientated, a man still struggling to get his sleep patterns back to a healthy normal and so battling a constant lethargy of tiredness, a man struggling to keep his epilepsy at bay. With all that considered I was a little uncertain as to how I was ever going to meet the challenge. I talked it through with Allie and she turned me to Winnie the Pooh for inspiration and encouragement. On reading it through, I not only found the soothing words I was looking for but I also found that he had much to say to us all so I reproduce the profoundly important things we learned from Winnie the Pooh on facebook for you below:

1. Piglet: “How do you spell ’love’?” Pooh: “You don’t spell it…you feel it.”

2. “You are braver than you believe. Stronger than you seem. And smarter than you think.”

3. “The things that make me different are the things that make me.”

4. “If the person you are talking to does not appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.”

5. “If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart. I’ll stay there forever.”

6. “As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen.”

7. “Sometimes the smallest things take the most room in your heart.”

8. “Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.”

9. “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”

10. “If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.”

11. “ Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”

12. “I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart for so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.”

13. “You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”

14. “Promise me you’ll never forget me because if I thought you would, I’d never leave.”

15. “A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.”

16. “A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.”

17. “Love is taking a few steps backward, maybe even more… to give way to the happiness of the person you love.”

18. “A day spent with you is my favourite day. So today is my new favourite day.”

19. “No one can be sad when they have a balloon!”

20. “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

So with lots of sound advice from my oncology team, friends and family coupled with Winnie the Pooh’s sage advice fresh in my mind my next steps became clear after a little mental reshuffling and careful planning.

I have finally understood that I must stay firmly sat on the beast as a priority. My oncology team’s parting warning at my last clinic has taken a while to sink in after such a wonderfully clear scan those few weeks ago but has now registered with my slow brain. “Archie, you still have a life limiting condition but the longer that you can keep it stable, the better.” So sit on the beast I will. I will be using my strategy of the 5 Fs, which has appeared to work so jolly well so far, of, in priority order:

  1. Faith
  2. Food
  3. Physical Exercise
  4. Focus
  5. Family and Friends

So every day I must conduct:

  • Morning and Evening Prayer.
  • Morning and Evening Walk with Upper Body Exercises and 2 x brazil nuts after each session.
  • An internet food shop to keep it fresh.
  • Write a post.
  • Do some washing and some ironing and stay in touch with some friends and family
  • Find time for 2 x 2hr uninterrupted sessions for work on ongoing projects.

Breakfast with an oat and seed based cereal mix eaten with a tablespoon of milled flaxseed, a banana, 24 blueberries, an apple, and coconut milk followed by a slice of wholemeal seeded toast with butter and marmalade.

Lunch with either tuna mayonnaise or egg mayonnaise or a poached egg with wholemeal seeded bread and spinach, rocket and watercress salad, followed by 100g of carrots, 50g of tenderstem broccoli, 4 cherry tomatoes, 12 Red Grapes and 2 x Brazil Nuts.

Tea of a wholesome meal prepared from scratch with raw ingredients involving red meat once a week, white meat twice a week, oily fish once a week, white fish twice a week, and an entirely vegetarian meal once a week, served with a very small (port glass size) glass of red wine, followed by a tangerine, a lactose free yoghurt, a turmeric supplement, a mug of Horlicks with 4 squares of 85% dark chocolate
Every day a mug of green tea and a mug of three ginger tea.
Crucially, where I can, I like to keep everything organic as it is better for me, better for the environment and better for the children’s future.

So Every Week I must:

  • Make time to live life, have fun and make memories with Allie and the children.
  • Write down one of the stories from my life that will contribute towards the book.
  • Try and make a cookery video for the website.
  • Try and make a morning and evening prayer video.
  • Try and make a video blog of the posts.
  • Conduct some Physical Training
  • Keep the flat clean with floors hoovered and mopped, beds changed, bath and sinks cleaned, towels changed and bins emptied.
  • Reinforce cognitive and motor function training by continuing to learn to play the organ, learning to play golf and learning to juggle.
  • A good walk in the hills or a bike ride.
  • Get a job done developing the website as a viable and useable resource for those fighting their own beasts.
  • Get some jobs ticked off of the ToDo list.
  • Get some wedding planning done!!

Written into a list it appears to be a daunting demand on time but true to military form I have broken it down into a daily/weekly routine and then broken the larger tasks into manageable, bite sized chunks. Most importantly I must remember Winnie the Pooh’s advice that “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” I have to remain firmly sat on the beast each and every day as a priority until it is beaten and beaten permanently. I am sworn to do this for as long as ever I can, and by doing it I hope once more, through my story, to be able to provide hope, inspiration and encouragement to many others in their fight with their own beasts while at the same time improving the lives and life chances of so many more people with your sponsorship going to my 5 supported charities. Not a single penny is lost to costs so please sponsor me to finish beating the beast for as long as ever I can. This is a significant challenge but with a significant opportunity to provide much help to many others for the years to come so take up the challenge I will.

I will climb every mountain
Ford every Stream
Follow every rainbow
til I Beat the Beast!

Thank you all for your incredible comments and support. Please continue to spread the word.
If you see me around do please give a cheery hello and shake my hand or give me a cheery wave to show your support and encourage me on.

Thank you

Yours aye

Thank you for joining me on my own personal journey and encouraging me to walk, cycle, climb, paddle, sport and do good deeds each day to ‘Beat the Beast’ while helping to improve the lives and life chances of so many more people through sponsorship. The Five Charities that I have selected to support are:

  1. Cancer Research UK – My Father Succumbed to Lung Cancer; a couple of friends are currently fighting cancer and I am fighting a brain tumour. Let’s Help to Beat Cancer Sooner.
  2. The Prince’s Trust – Inspiring and preparing disadvantaged Young Lives for success.
  3. British Red Cross – helping those in need around the UK and the world whoever and wherever they are.
  4. World Wide Fund for Nature – For a Living Planet and a Future Where People and Nature Thrive.
  5. Help for Heroes – Support for our Wounded and their Families. To learn more about my story that brought me to this point, how I plan to ‘Beat the Beast’, what activities I plan to do within the challenge and why, please see my welcome video on this page.

How to Sponsor Me

The Beat the Beast Challenge is self funding through my own contribution while keeping costs to a minimum with voluntary support and corporate sponsorship in kind. Therefore the entirety of every penny donated will go directly to the 5 charities listed above.

Please sponsor me by completing a standing order form either through your own personal internet banking or by completing a hard copy standing order form in your branch of your bank and then handing it in to the teller.

It is entirely up to you how much you would like to and are able to sponsor me for so do please give as much or as little as you can. Every penny will be very gratefully received.

While I hope you will encourage me to keep going by sponsoring me for every day I survive and am able to find the cognitive and physical capability to complete a day’s task designed to improve my chances of ‘Beating the Beast’ or improving the lives of others, 5 days a week, four weeks a month, for as long as ever I can. Any One off Cash contributions will be most gratefully received and distributed in exactly the same manner to the five charities as the sponsorship. Any one off donations can be made by BACS or cheque.

Thank you for having enough faith in me to sponsor me.

Yours aye