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Beat The Beast Challenge

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

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This is a post to say sorry, thank you, and then share some good news.

Hard At Work
Hard At Work

Firstly I would like to say sorry for my absence from this platform since the start of the Covid lockdown. As I was unable to fundraise in the manner I had been doing thanks to the necessary social distancing rules, and unable to act for the same reasons, I started some deep research into exploring the possibility of writing my book and have been researching as best I could over the last three months. The good news is that, after some really positive comments from friends I have indeed decided to write the book about my life.

The book will cover my life from the crazy moments as a toddler in London through the crazy moments in school including Crosfields and King’s School Bruton, through my challenging and rewarding 20 years as an Infanteer with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers and Royal Regiment of Scotland, through my 7 year battle with a terminal brain tumour to the here and now with a look forward to what might be a new and very exciting future.

This will be a very positive book with which I seek to provide Inspiration, encouragement and most of all hope to all those, young or old, that struggle to find their place in the world, to know where they fit in or that struggle with their own beasts of a disease that they need to conquer, so face seemingly insurmountable hurdles, just by telling my story.

Having followed many breadcrumbs during my research I am also highlighting the many conflicts that took place around the world, the destruction of God’s creation, the many famines that took place, the plight of those found homeless, and those trapped in modern slavery, throughout my life in the hope that my book might become a catalyst for positive change. For example. During my first five years of life I saw: two new Prime Ministers, two new Presidents of the United States, the United Kingdom become a part of Europe, There were more than: 8 box office busting films released, 15 new musicals made their debut, 22 songs made it to No.1 in the UK charts, yet conflict and climate change related natural disasters accounted for more than $625,902,506 lost in damages. 94,500 people made homeless, 50,000 people displaced, 70,000 new refugees, 68,330 acres of ancient forest lost, 28 species made extinct, lost forever, and 199,173 people meet an early demise through conflict and natural disasters.

I hope the book will enable me to find the funding for a CEO of great quality to lead the Future Nation Foundation (FNF) to an operationally effective position to improve the lives of our most disadvantaged and disengaged young people in the country so breaking the cycle of reoffending. A project I was introduced to and then developed with the help of my dear friend and mentor, Heather MacLeod, while performing as Daddy Day Care and getting to know better my wonderful children, shortly after leaving the Army, After six months in development of FNF I had to switch my focus to setting up a business to bring in an income to the family while continuinig to support the development of FNF only to have to let FNF go into hibernation after diagnosis of my brain tumour. But FNF is a project that I continue to hold dear to my heart and very much hope to bring out of hibernation to a fully funded organisation changing so many lives for the better. I wanted to lead FNF into fruition and beyond as the CEO and before my brain tumour could have done, as it was my very simple plan, but after the damage done by the tumour, the treatment and each and everyone of the more severe epileptic seizures I have not the capacity to lead FNF as the CEO. However I am passionate about it and the benefits FNF would bring to wider society as well as our disadvantaged disengaged young people, so intend to Chair FNF in support to the CEO in finding as much funding as I can to provide the means to enable FNF to slowly expand in the numbers of lives FNF is improving across the nation, little by little, ink spot by ink spot. I hope that my book will provide as an introduction to FNF to prospective funders who seek to provide the catalyst for change.

Lighthouse By The Harbour
Lighthouse By The Harbour

Finally, after a successful time filming ‘The Hanged’ as General Sir John Berkeley and ‘The Verdict’ as the successful defence barrister, John Williams, just before Covid 19 struck, I hope the book will help me to launch a new career as an actor in film. While I love the rewards of performing in front of and interacting with a live audience and have proven my ability to sustain myself in a show running every day for a week I know that I am unable to sustain myself through the rigours of acting in a West End show that runs for many months. My damaged brain would quickly tip over into neurological dysfunction and SMART attacks. However I have proven that I can sustain myself quite happily during the demanding rigours of a filming day, day after day, by manging myself carefully and with some discipline through those breaks in filming. I enjoy the challenge of it and the wonder of the stories that can be told through film and hope to become a part of it for through acting I hope to improve my fundraising potential for FNF. Indeed it was acting training through the Acting Out Drama School in Edinburgh and the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow that proved to be the most beneficial in retraining and strengthening the Cognitive and Neurological function of my brain.

I should have passed. Indeed my brain surgeon was amazed that I could even walk or talk when we first met after that first scan. I was given, by a neurology expert in the USA, proclaimed as world leading by my insurance company, a prognosis of “at best 3 years preceded by a rapid decline towards becoming a cognitive and motor function vegetable.” Clearly this was a bitter pill to swallow from he who was my last great hope so the very fact that I am still here has been the trigger for many for me to write a book. Certainly the fact that I managed to become an Infantry Officer, and during my service, a potential Modern Pentathlon Olympian for the Sydney 2000 Olympics was itself remarkable considering how uncool and socially awkward I was. How feeble I was in my childhood at both Crosfields and King’s School Bruton, both Academically and on the sports pitch. During my life I have managed to cheat death on 8 separate occasions for many different reasons and managed to save a number of lives on the way too so I have, I hope, a story that will inspire people from their childhood when they struggle with identity and trying to discover who they are and how they fit in, through to adulthood when they face perhaps their own beasts and seemingly insurmountable mountains. Not only that, if I write it well it is a jolly good yarn with some laugh out loud moments. I just need to write the bugger!

Sadly, because of the damage to my brain done by the tumour, the treatment, and each and everyone of the more severe epileptic seizures I can only work so very slowly and often find that when I come back to the work I have done it is covered in red squiggles. I have an annoying habit of using the right letters but putting them in completely random order when trying to spell words while typing. so the research and writing phase will take me many more months than I would like so now, while there is little more that I can usefully do, is the perfect time to start.

After a false start in which I tried to work a normal 9 to 5 day with a break for coffee and lunch and tea et al poor Allie had to very quickly come and help me up off the floor after my brain shut down completely with a form of neurological dysfunction. Since then I had to go through a few SMART attacks, with poor Allie again picking up the pieces, until I eventually found the right balance which is:

Reveille 0630: Shave, Shower and dress.

Make a green tea to help fire up my brain while helping to prevent the onset of Alzheimers for which I have been told I am now at significant risk of developing, while also helping to improve my woeful working memory. I then spend 10 minutes or so in prayer for the 13 people whose healing I pray for each day. Then I start work for 30 minutes timed on an egg timer. By 25 minutes the fog is starting to drift into the brain but I push on until the buzzer goes off at 30 minutes.

The Courtyard For My Fog Clearing Bimble
The Courtyard For My Fog Clearing Bimble

I have to clear the fog out of my brain so I go down four flights of stairs (2 floors) to the courtyard for a 258metre brisk walk around the courtyard to the flats before coming back in and ascending the 96 stairs, (12 flights of stairs) to the top (6th) floor before climbing back down 8 flights (4 floors) to our flat on the second floor all to pump oxygenated blood into the brain and clear the fog before:

My Five Times Daily Climb
My Five Times Daily Climb

Another 30 minutes work.

Then my cancer busting breakfast in accordance with my balanced daily lifestyle.

Another 30 minutes work.

Go down four flights of stairs (2 floors) to the courtyard for a 258metre brisk walk around the courtyard to the flats before coming back in and ascending the 96 stairs, (12 flights of stairs) to the top (6th) floor before climbing back down 8 flights (4 floors) to our flat on the second floor all to pump oxygenated blood into the brain and clear the fog before:

Looking Across The Firth Of Forth To Fife
Looking Across The Firth Of Forth To Fife

Another 30 minutes work.

Followed by a roughly 3.5 mile (45 minute) brisk walk ascending roughly 236 feet on anyone of the four seperate routes I have around our flat that include a heart pumping hill, followed by pullups, press ups and situps.

Another 30 minutes work.

Go down four flights of stairs (2 floors) to the courtyard for a 258metre brisk walk around the courtyard to the flats before coming back in and ascending the 96 stairs, (12 flights of stairs) to the top (6th) floor before climbing back down 8 flights (4 floors) to our flat on the second floor all to pump oxygenated blood into the brain and clear the fog before:

View From Starbank Park
View From Starbank Park

Another 30 minutes work.

Followed by my cancer busting lunch in accordance with my balanced daily lifestyle.

Followed by a 30 minute afternoon nap, when needed, to reboot the brain that is, by this stage, often really struggling to function through fatigue. On bad fatigue days, which thank fully come less often now, I can be struggling with speech, motor and cognitive function and can become a real liability requiring Allie’s help to get me to bed to rest and reboot

Followed by another green tea to help fire up my brain after the nap while continuing my drive to prevent the onset of Alzheimers and improve my woeful working memory.

Another 30 minutes work.

Go down four flights of stairs (2 floors) to the courtyard for a 258metre brisk walk around the courtyard to the flats before coming back in and ascending the 96 stairs, (12 flights of stairs) to the top (6th) floor before climbing back down 8 flights (4 floors) to our flat on the second floor all to pump oxygenated blood into the brain and clear the fog before:

Craighall Road
Craighall Road

Another 30 minutes work.

Followed by a roughly 3.5 mile (45 minute) brisk walk ascending roughly 236 feet on anyone of the four seperate routes I have around our flat that include a heart pumping hill, followed by pullups, press ups and situps.

Another 30 minutes work.

Tea.

Another 30 minutes work

Go down four flights of stairs (2 floors) to the courtyard for a 258metre brisk walk around the courtyard to the flats before coming back in and ascending the 96 stairs, (12 flights of stairs) to the top (6th) floor before climbing back down 8 flights (4 floors) to our flat on the second floor all to pump oxygenated blood into the brain and clear the fog before:

Another 30 minutes work.

Followed by a roughly 3.5 mile (45 minute) brisk walk ascending roughly 236 feet on anyone of the four seperate routes I have around our flat that include a heart pumping hill, followed by pullups, press ups and situps.

2230hrs ideally but usually 2300hrs lights out sleep and repeat until the book is complete.

Skylark Field Full Of Song
Skylark Field Full Of Song

This is arduous but I have found it maximises the amount of productive time at my desk in any one day. Repeated 6 days a week with Sunday being my day off to spend with Allie it is enabling me to write the book even if it is so very slowly while ensuring that I follow my balanced daily lifestyle to try to prevent my tumour from returning as predicted. Using specific foods to attack any tumour directly, and to help reinforce my immune system so that too can attack any tumour and remembering the wonderful quote from Dr Nick Cavill, “If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost effective drugs ever invented” I ensure that I walk briskly, 6 days a week just over 10 miles a day in three separate walks with pull ups, press ups and sit ups to further reinforce my immune system while keeping my neurological, respiratory, circulatory, digestive and musculoskeletal systems healthy.

Newhaven Road
Newhaven Road

Now to say thank. Thank you all for continuing to sponsor me despite my silence over these last few months. As I have shown I continue to fight the beast and have now covered over 10,000 miles under my own steam with 10,060.13 miles so far covered and am so very close to reaching £10,000 raised at £9473.16 raised. Every single penny has gone to save lives through the Disasters Emergency Committee and will continue to do so, so do please keep it coming.

Tree Lined Avenue
Tree Lined Avenue

And the good news. While my brain remains severely damaged and the Cholesteatoma is showing signs of returning, my scan today came back as remaining clear of the tumour. Marvellous.

Time for a bimble around the courtyard and a few flights of stairs.

Keep safe

Keep smiling

Archie

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