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Beat The Beast Challenge

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Introduction

An Audio Visual Guide to the Challenge

Back in December 2012 I left the Army after a demanding but rewarding 20 year career. Sadly, just 9 months later, in September of 2013, I was diagnosed with a brain tumour that we now know was triggered by a blunt force trauma that was sustained 15 years prior to diagnosis, way back, when I was a young officer with the 1st Battalion The King’s Own Scottish Borderers. By the time that they had found this Grade 1 tumour it had grown to the size of a small hand and pushed the centre line of my brain all the way over to just above my left ear. When we first met, after my second MRI scan, I discovered that my brain surgeon was astounded that I could even walk or talk. Shortly after that first meeting I developed Epilepsy, so had to surrender my driving licence, my safety boat licence, and my gun licence. It felt as if large chunks of me were dropping away seizure by seizure. Over time, and with further consultation, my tumour was declared terminal with a prognosis of, ‘at best, 3 years preceded by a rapid decline towards becoming a cognitive and motor function vegetable,’ and then the tumour jumped to a much higher grade requiring surgery as quickly as possible. Surgery could only remove 40% of the tumour. The remaining 60% was buried far too deep into the brain, but the confirmed diagnosis taken from the Biopsy which was removed during surgery, of a Grade 3 Anaplastic Oligodendroglioma, allowed my brilliant Oncology team to successfully fight to get me on to a European trial, which consisted of a full course of 30 back to back sessions of brain focussed radiotherapy, which had to start so very soon after surgery, and was then followed immediately by 12 monthly cycles of brain focussed chemotherapy, an entire year of Chemotherapy. My Oncologist told me that they couldn’t shrink, kill or cure the tumour. That this unusually robust treatment regimen was hopefully going to make my tumour stable for a while, put it to sleep so that they could extend my prognosis from 3 to 6 years, so that my children would be teenagers in the middle of high school, so older and better equipped emotionally to deal with my passing, and that this treatment plan would damage my brain. In the discussion with my Oncology team that followed I concluded that if I was to die anyway despite this robust treatment, but if it would allow the children to grow in age and experience before my passing, well then the brain damage didn’t matter, as I wouldn’t be around to worry about it, so I agreed that we should pursue this treatment option in order to buy me, and most importantly the children some time. During the treatment journey I set up this challenge to beat my beast, in order to reassure the children, while breathing hope, inspiration and encouragement into their lives, while also ensuring that my final days were not for nothing, but instead spent trying to save the lives and improve the life chances of as many people as I could, by asking everybody that I met to challenge me, through their sponsorship for the Disasters Emergency Committee, to beat my beast of a brain tumour.

After many dietary mistakes driven by doctor Google, which needed an entire course of treatment to put out the fire that I had lit within my own body, the NHS gave me access to a brilliant dietician who helped me to develop a balanced diet, which I then combined with exercise to create the balanced lifestyle, which I then tweaked to focus the ability of the balanced diet that I ate every single day to attack the cancer, while also reinforcing, with daily exercise, my immune system so that too could attack the cancer. I had designed my balanced daily lifestyle to reinforce the treatment that I was being given.

I took to the hills and mountains of the Trossachs National Park as it was the only place in which I could find peace from the fear of my immediate future and twice suffered an epileptic seizure on the mountains. On each occasion I was lucky to make it home and after the second occasion my GP, quite rightly, banned me from walking on my own. He demanded that I find a walking partner which I duly did to return once again to the mountains.

In September of 2016 my brain tumour, that they could not shrink, kill or cure, disappeared completely but I have been left brain damaged with Neurological Dysfunction and SMART Syndrome and fighting to get to a stage where my remaining half a fit brain can sustain me in employment.

I have been told by my neurologist that I will never recover the neurological and cognitive function that I once had, that as far as future employment was concerned, I should aspire to nothing more than volunteering in a shop for an hour a week.

I have been told by my Oncologist that this rare type of Glioma (Grade 3 Anaplastic Oligodendroglioma) that I have, has a nasty habit of returning. That it is impossible to rid my brain of every single tumour cell, and that it only takes one cell to be the catalyst for its return. They do not know what the trigger is for the regrowth but expect it at some point in each and every case such as mine. It is not possible to ever be completely rid of my tumour.

Now knowing that I am locked in a vicious, perpetual cyclic battle with a brain tumour that can only ever end in one way, I continue to follow my balanced daily lifestyle to try to prevent my tumour from ever returning and use the mediums of Golf, Music, Drama, Dance, Writing and even Juggling as vehicles on which to try to retrain and strengthen my brain for future employment.

Please challenge me to beat my beast of neurological dysfunction and to prevent my brain tumour from ever returning by sponsoring me for just £1 per month.

I guarantee you that every single penny raised goes to the Disasters Emergency Committee.

Follow my progress  
As I beat the beast

I am inviting you to join me on my personal challenge to Beat the new Beast of Neurological Dysfunction that has been triggered by the damage to the brain left behind by the Grade 3 Oligodendroglioma Brain Tumour, that I have recently beaten, as well as the treatment and each and every Epileptic seizure. Your sponsorship will help improve the lives and life chances of so many more people, at the times they need it most, at times of disaster, while also encouraging me to try and provide the hope, inspiration and encouragement I seek to carry through my story. With your sponsorship for the Disasters Emergency Committee I can make every day that I am blessed enough to be given, count for others.

In order to keep my relationship with you live, I will write a monthly summary of progress including the challenge in numbers while also telling of those moments of light that I manage to find from within the neurological darkness.

Golf Balls Played
Golf Balls
Played
2,288
Height climbed
Height climbed
476,059.614 feet
Miles Covered Under My Own Steam
Miles Covered
Under Own Steam
8340.73

Number of Sponsors
41
Days Completed
Months
Survived
51
Money Raised 
Money Raised for DEC
£7,510.16
Frequently Asked Questions

Each and every day is a challenge. My Neurological Dysfunction, controlled, to some extent, by drugs, keeps me living almost permanently on the edge. Having been told, by my Neurologist, that I will never regain my cognitive function to the level that it once was, that I should aspire to nothing more than volunteering in a charity shop, for an hour a week, the temptation to curl up in a ball under the duvet, after what has so far been a 5 year long fight, and give up is strong. So you, as the sponsor, are challenging me to find the resolve and the determination to get that mattress off my back and get up, get out there, and make the most of every single day that I am blessed enough to be given by trying to train the brain through the mediums of Golf, Drama, Music and Writing. So while you challenge me I challenge you to see how many of your friends and family you can find to also sponsor me for £1.00 per month, with every single penny being guaranteed to reach the Disasters Emergency Committee.

Based in Edinburgh I am so very lucky to have been given sponsorship by the Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club and their most excellent Professional, Scott Dixon, to learn to play Golf on the wonderful courses and facilities at Dalmahoy. I am here as many days a week as my medical appointments allow so come and find me to say hello if you can.

I have just started to explore Drama as a medium by which to strengthen my cognitive and neurological function and am doing so with financial support through the Acting Out Drama School in Edinburgh.

I am learning to play the Pipe Organ as a vehicle with which to train the brain as a student of the resident organist, the most talented and excellent teacher, John Reilly, at St Paul’s and St George’s Church in Edinburgh.

Unable to concentrate for much longer than forty minutes at a stretch without triggering neurological seizures, I have started to write my book at Dalmahoy, using my Golf Practice as a most excellent way to break up my writing day.

I use Hill Walking and Country Walks as a vehicle by which I can clear the mind and concentrate on healing and calming the mind and spend, as a result, many days in the gentle Pentland Hills but also exploring the countryside and hills of the Lothians, Central Scotland and the Borders.

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 Disasters Emergency Committee.

Please sponsor me by completing a standing order form either through your own personal internet banking or by completing the standing order form found here and posting it to your bank at the address found in your cheque book.

The Beat the Beast Challenge Account details needed for the standing order form are as follows:

Payee: Beat The Beast Challenge

Sort Code: 83-24-18

Account Number: 15978839

Remembering that I will complete 20 days of activity each month, suggested but not exclusive sponsorship options, are as follows:

£1.00 per day = £20.00 per month.
£0.50p per day = £10.00 per month.
£0.25p per day = £5.00 per month.
£0.05p per day = £1.00 per month.

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 sent to the following account:

Payee: Beat The Beast Challenge

Sort Code: 83-24-18

Account Number: 15978839

Address:

Royal Bank of Scotland, Edinburgh Leith Branch, 2 Bernard Street, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6PU

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

I would love you to get involved. In fact the very success of this challenge both in healing and fundraising aspirations hinge entirely on the support of as many people as possible. So thank you very much for considering to come and join me on the journey to Beat the Beast. I very much hope that you enjoy it and if you support what I am trying to achieve in the challenge do please help me raise awareness by:

  • 1. Liking the facebook page
  • 2. Sharing the facebook page
  • 3. Following me on Twitter @archiedouglas25
  • 4. Just telling your friends and family about me and the challenge and making me a part of your daily life and conversation. It is quite a journey and sure to give you lots to think and talk about.
  • 5. Please sponsor me and encourage your friends and family to sponsor me too.
  • 6. Organise a fundraising event or activity. There have been a number of increasingly imaginative ideas already. A fundraising tea, Christmas card making, plastic bag charge donations from shops et al.
  • 7. If you would like to, invite me to come and join you on a walk or event. Or to give a talk. It doesn’t have to be a huge event. This challenge is all about people so I would love to come and join you for a walk or bike ride or presentation or work day one day. Just ask and if I can I will.

Finally I humbly pray, that my story on the challenge provides a source of Hope, Help, Inspiration or Encouragement for you or any of your friends or family who may need it in the future, as it has for a number of wonderfully courageous people already. So just keep in touch and follow the journey.

While fighting my brain tumour I supported five different but brilliant charities. Sadly I found that trying to fund raise for five charities at once created conflict in potential supporters minds as well as possible media support. So for this refresh of the challenge I have decided to support the Disasters Emergency Committee only. It is a wonderful charity that saves and rebuilds the lives of so many people all around the world at times of greatest need. At times of disaster.

Learn more about the Disasters Emergency Committee.

I can be contacted by various online means, you can befriend and send me a message on Facebook or an email from the website at archie@beatthebeastchallenge.co.uk.

You can also leave me support and messages here on my blog posts, with Disqus. Simply sign in with Twitter/Facebook/Disqus and leave your message for me. I do try my best to respond to every message.

Messages of support and encouragement are always welcome, but as well as this, if you have any good ideas or invitations for the Beat The Beast Challenge, let me know!

All suggestions welcome!

Beat The Beast Sponsored Charity

Fundraising for the Disasters Emergency Committee Fundraising for the Disasters Emergency Committee