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Beat The Beast Challenge

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Smile No.302 - Cocoa Having A Wild Time On Her First Jaunt Up North Berwick Law With Me
Smile No.302 - Cocoa Having A Wild Time On Her First Jaunt Up North Berwick Law With Me

Marilyn Monroe once said, ‘the way you carry yourself is influenced by the way you feel inside.’ Basically she was saying that you must feel attractive to be attractive.

Mulling over this quote while looking back over the 37 days since my last post, in which I have walked 219 miles and cycled 20 miles ascending 20,264.94 feet on the way, and cooked 14 delicious and nutritious evening meals, made 31 lunches and prepared 30 breakfasts, had another sail - this time with a hugely enthusiastic professor - prepared and delivered the intercessory prayers at St Baldred’s church, treated my darling wife to afternoon tea at Cherish in Gullane, and attended a most wonderful family gathering in West Sussex, I could only conclude that she is absolutely right. Quite simply because, during this time, I suffered a couple of SMART attacks, and another couple of partial SMART attacks. Through the SMART attacks I feel quite grotesque. Unable to see clearly, unable to speak clearly, and unable to coordinate my motor function accurately, I become akin to how I imagine the hunch back of Notre Dame to have been. Certainly, on the occasions in which I have suffered a full blown SMART attack in a public place, my one driving desire is to seek shelter away from other people; it is to find somewhere to hide and walk it out away from other people. Safe from the critical gaze of others. During these times and for the day or two afterwards in which I have to fight through the most agonising hangover with ice-pick headaches driving me to my knees and to my bed, I am at my most unproductive. Not one smile or sponsor is gained at such times.

Once clear of the ice-pick headaches and wishy washy sight, I start to venture out again for fresh air and exercise and make it my main effort to smile and attract smiles in return to cheer me up. In so doing, over the 29 days when not in the grip of a SMART attack I managed to capture an additional 25 smiles, gain an additional 18 sponsors and raise an additional £1,012 in sponsorship. Making the effort to be attractive by smiling at people really does have the effect of drawing people towards me, and once I have their attention I can give my pitch and hope and pray they go home and sponsor me. Not all do. Far from all do. But some do and securing an additional smile, and especially an additional sponsor, really does encourage me to keep fighting.

Smile No 320 - David From North Berwick
Smile No 320 - David From North Berwick

Yesterday I took Cocoa for her first expeditionary walk with me. A short walk, just 5 miles planned as she is still quite young, but it was a chance to explore the Lammermuir hills for the first time and to test myself with the planning and execution of attempting such a walk without a car in rural East Lothian. The planning of the route and marking of my map was a doddle. However the transport plan became quite complex and once furnished with a solution involved a walk to North Berwick railway station, then a train to Edinburgh, then a train to Berwick Upon Tweed, then a bus to Duns then another bus before another short walk into Abbey St Bathans to start the planned walk. Then of course I had to plan enough time to complete the walk in time to make sure I got the bus back to Duns in time to catch the bus back to Berwick Upon Tweed, in time for the train back to Edinburgh, in time for the train back to North Berwick for the walk home in time for supper. In the end I was so tired from the planning, despite breaks every twenty minutes, that Allie nipped and tucked the plan and booked the rail tickets for me.

On the day, despite an early start, I was buoyant. The journey went exactly to plan and as I crested the most demanding climb up to a Cairn in the Lammermuirs, I was so delighted with the way Cocoa and my head behaved that I was beaming from ear to ear when I met Richard and Richard who were delighted to meet me and engaged with me immediately on meeting. They gave me their smiles and took my card. As I walked on I very much hoped that they will become sponsors. The day went so brilliantly that I managed to finish the walk an hour earlier than planned and managed to catch all the buses and trains in sequence an hour earlier than planned and booked with no quibble from the rail staff. Even better - I was home an hour earlier for tea rather than supper. Marvellous. In total Cocoa and I walked 8.94 miles ascending 1,132.38 feet and she was delighted .

Please help me to spread a little light into the lives of those that struggle by sending me a photo of your smile that I can publish, with the other 322 smiles so far captured, on the smileometer on my website, and via the Challenge social media channels of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Emailing it to me would be best on archie@beatthebeastchallenge.co.uk or message it to me on Messenger or Instagram.

Furthermore I continue to look for sponsorship. Many have suggested that I would find life more comfortable if I was to take a chill pill and just focus on enjoying life. Yet I keep fighting and keep writing despite my neurological challenges, purely and simply to save lives; mine, and those who are starving to death as I write: men, women and children trapped in their millions in the triple whammy of COVID, warfare and climate change related natural disaster around the world in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, DR Congo, India, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Smiles Nos 321 - 322. Richard And Richard From Berwick Upon Tweed
Smiles Nos 321 - 322. Richard And Richard From Berwick Upon Tweed

There are 64,000,000 active current accounts in the UK. My challenge is to convince just 1% of those account holders to challenge me to keep fighting to achieve success with just £1 per month. If I succeed, I could raise over £640,000 a month with which to help save and rebuild the lives of those most in need through the Disasters Emergency Committee. With 92 sponsors so far obtained I am 0.014% of the way towards my target. It is easy to doubt that I will ever get there, but I refuse to, so please sponsor me, I guarantee, that with the generosity of:

  • The Royal Bank of Scotland.
  • Webb and Wallace Accountants in Doune.
  • MHCreations in Glasgow.
  • Key Facilities Management in Doune.

That every single penny raised goes to save and rebuild lives through the Disasters Emergency Committee. Not a single penny is lost to costs.
Every penny raised encourages me to keep fighting to prevent my brain tumour from returning as predicted, and to retrain and strengthen my brain, using the mediums of Golf, Music, Navigating over the Hills, Drama, Dance, Juggling, Litter Picking and Writing, with becoming neurologically and cognitively strong enough to one day be able to sustain myself in some form of future employment being my goal while saving lives through the DEC on the way.

Please sponsor me to make me happy. After all, happiness is the key to success.

Thank you, Keep safe, keep being brilliant.

Cocoa By The Eden Hill Broch In The Lammermuir Hills
Cocoa By The Eden Hill Broch In The Lammermuir Hills

Keeeeeeeeeeeep smiling

Yours aye with love and gratitude,

Archie xx