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Beat The Beast Challenge

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Today has been a day of frustration that finished with an evening of exhilaration. It started with a walk of 1.84 miles around the Doune Pond Steps climbing 28.54 metres while collecting a bag of rubbish and before then going on to do another upper body circuit. This time I was increasing the reps to 12 of each exercise so in total I did 2 pull-ups, 36 press-ups or equivalent, 96 sit-ups or equivalent, and moved 5 kgs over 72 metres or 720kgs over a metre. Then it was Morning Prayer and some organ practice using piano tunes learned years ago to test the memory and cognitive function. It was far from perfect but I surprised myself by what I could remember and by what I could play again after a little practice.

The after a quick pack I was off to Edinburgh. At my last oncology clinic my oncologist recommended to Allie that she should take me dancing to help improve my cognitive and motor function. So tonight Allie took me to Ceroc. I wasn’t at first too keen to go dancing. I had just had a reply to the email that I had sent to the contact I was given for the BBC. It was a wonderful reply in its encouragement, but sadly they couldn’t offer any support to the challenge through her programme due to BBC regulations and the fact that I was donating specifically to 5 charities other than the BBC’s own charities. It was a long email with lots of detail needed but it also gave me some leads that she recommended I follow. She clearly understood what I was hoping to achieve with the challenge and wanted me to succeed so, while it wasn’t the answer I was hoping for, she was at least encouraging me to keep going and looking for that all important vehicle on which to build the reach and utility of the challenge. So I was disappointed, but I wasn’t going to give up. I will find a vehicle on which to improve my reach and utility on the challenge somehow. So I was a little down on not having the result I was hoping for but Allie knew that dancing was not only important to help me beat the beast, but also the perfect tonic when feeling a little disappointed. She was absolutely right. Ceroc was at first comical as I struggled to get my head around all the moves we were being shown by the brilliant demonstrator and teacher. In the beginners’ group I even joked about Daddy dancing being inevitable for a man as we learn to dance from our Dads, so Daddy dancing is and will continue to be carried on for generations. But as the ladies were moved around the formation, a long line of very patient women were the perfect tonic for me learning the moves. This was absolutely brilliant training for the brain’s cognitive and motor function, but so intense was it on so many levels that I grew tired very quickly and while practicing the moves we had just been taught with the other beginners in a corridor away from the much more advanced intermediate dancers, my brain forgot to balance me and while walking down the line to change partners in the corridor for another practice, I suddenly went crashing backwards into the wall. It wasn’t a great distance so no damage was done and the fall woke up the brain immediately. I recovered quickly and laughed it off as tripping over my feet so no concern was raised and we were back to practicing. Then the lessons were over and we were into free-dancing time. Allie had been in the intermediate class but we managed to link up for the free-dancing and in a loop we practiced the moves I had been taught over and over and over again until I eventually had them squared away and locked into the mind and body. Allie was incredibly patient as the needle slipped out of the groove on the record many times which required us to reset and try again to link the moves together to actually perform a recognisable dance. With thanks to the teachers, and assistants called taxi dancers, the long line of so very patient women helping me learn and practice with them, and then finally Allie letting me take her through the same old routine time and time and time again I finally got it. And once I did we were able to speed it up and do it in time to the music and link the end and the front of the routine together to be able to actually do a proper dance. I thoroughly enjoyed myself but the best bit came at the end of the night. A gentleman who had been watching Allie and I dance, or more accurately Allie teach me to dance, came up to Allie and said to her, ‘I have been watching you guys dance. Whatever you do don’t let your partner give up. He will get it. It will just take some time so don’t let him give up.’

Allie replied quite simply. ‘Don’t worry. He won’t. He never, ever gives up.'