Fundraising And Me: There’s A First Time For Everything…
Starting out a New Year with a change in your routine can certainly be daunting for some and exciting for others. For me, in 2014, it was an apt mixture of both. From January 1st 2014 until February (of the same year!), I would be giving up alcohol for a whole month for Cancer Research UK. It was not the only thing that I had to do, of course. I also shaved my head, decided to run a 10K race and go hiking. The last activity I ended up doing in costume…and for a guy who NEVER dresses up, that was quite a feat in itself! What brought on the decision to do the fundraising? I guess I wanted an explosive start to my 2014…an explosion that would reverberate through the rest of the year and beyond. After all, isn’t that what we all want from our lives, in one form or another? We all crave excitement, adventure and the passion that makes both of those things that much more exhilarating? I reached out to my close friends and, soon, had a team that I was a part of: The Dry and Mighty. Consequently, all of the team members were my former housemates/long time close friends from my university days: Nick, Steve and Dan. I could feel that it was epic!
The very first act, as already noted, I undertook was shaving my head. I had already done so once before, during my first year at university, and thought I could pull it off again. It was January too, so winter was still throwing its frosty winds at us and my naked head felt the full frontal assault by nature many-a time. My hairdo sorted out, I set to find out the next best thing to do. By this point, I had been running for just under a month (which I still need to get back to doing as I write this!) and thought I could do a 10K run. It wouldn’t be easy but I knew I could pull it off. I set about finding out who else wanted to join me and was happy to discover that I had four other interested people! I covered the race in a previous blog so won’t sound like a broken record but I was really happy with my finishing time of 1h11m. I also managed to run through the finish line waddling along like Zoidberg. SCORE!
The next big thing I did was a hike in the Cotswolds along with my intrepid explorer friends, Nick and Dan. Steve couldn’t be with us, unfortunately, as he was kicking some serious butt at hockey, so we three resolved to go hiking and exploring on our own. Three hours of walking in fairly good sunshine, having both hilarious but deep conversations (as one does!)…oh, and Nick and I were in costume. He a tiger, me an Assassin…it was pretty great. Dan opted to be himself, which, to be fair, was epic enough. Our three-hour or so hike took us around most of the area we wanted to cover. That said, we did have to cut our route slightly short as the last twenty minutes of our journey was filled with painful hail raining from the skies and winds battering us relentlessly. On our way back to the pub where we would eventually drink tea and hot chocolates in to celebrate our achievement, we passed by a tree that had been uprooted by the wind and fallen onto the pathway. Yikes!
Consequently, that same fatefully epic day, my lovely nephew Dylan was born and I went to see him in the hospital that day. …dressed as an Assassin, of course (one of my longstanding dreams, really). I bet he’ll really grow up idolising me for that!
Looking back, that month was one of the most adventurous and exciting months I have ever had in my life. I felt ready for action, alive, passionate and, most of all, connected with the people around me. My love for science, especially astrophysics (who woulda thunk it?!), grew astronomically, as I devoured more literature, podcasts and general knowledge that I could get my scientifically curious mitts on.
More importantly, I also learnt that the really important and awesome people in my life would support me all the way through and stand by me. The few that actually made the journey with me were nothing short of amazing: their support spurred me on to make the finish line with more gusto than I would have otherwise managed. So, guys, if I haven’t said it already, thank you for being so awesome. And to everyone who supported me whilst I was finding ways to deal with sobriety, a big thank you to you too. We managed to raise over £1,300 in the end as a team…way beyond our initial target!
So…what would be my advice from this experience? Be yourself, do amazing things one step at a time and never stop believing that you are awesome and every day is a chance to increase your limit of awesomeness.
As I look into the hidden gifts and challenges that 2014 holds, I am hopeful and excited. Never before have I truly felt the capacity to be a harbinger of an enormous amount of change and positive action. And never before have I seen that quality exuded by so many people in such an intense manner.
This is Taz, signing out by urging you to keep being awesome.