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There is very little anyone can do to prepare for a
life changing illness or tragedy. For the most part one day people find
themselves thrown into an overwhelming situation and have to face it as they
stand. So in solidarity with all who face such times, here I am, throwing
myself and my twenty year old bike into this journey, to face its ups and
downs, its struggles and triumphs, its hopes and its fears - one day, one leg,
then hopefully the other leg, at a time.
Just a wee guy from the Highlands, born in Perth, I grew up in Dornoch, lived in Tain and went to school in Golspie so I guess you could say I'm well travelled!
Actually I spent three years as a little boy in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, of which I only have vague memories but from which my family and I gained Canadian citizenship - which is most certainly a privilege and a help for this challenge.
Now, although I've cycled all my life on my wee chopper, my BMX, then my mountain bike I am by no means a cyclist. I enjoy getting out for a pedal or two, but I hadn't really cycled for a number of years or ever attempted a long distance, until last year when I cycled around 1000 miles from Oslo to Frankfurt. It was a once off really, or so I thought! There was no way I could have imagined it was just a test run for a bigger, longer, harder challenge - but that's what it's become.
So here goes: Halifax, NS to Vancouver, BC, 4000 miles over 40 days across Canada! It's a wee bit more than a pedal or two - and probably quite an elaborate excuse to eat a copious amount of pancakes and maple syrup!
There has been preparation, there has been planning, of course there has, but I don't have the best equipment, I don't have the greatest ability, and I don't know how each day will go or what I may face however I will appreciate the help, kindness and support of those who will carry me through, spur me on and strengthen me - if I'm able to gallop past the Mounties, dodge the mountain lions and outrun the Grizzlies! It is never a bad thing to know that help comes from outwith yourself.
So why am I doing it? Well, I was there with Fin Macrae, a friend and former colleague, four years ago when he had his first angioma triggered fit. I've been conscious of the challenge this has been for him and his family, but also aware of the significant support Cavernoma Alliance UK has been to them. Therefore, as Fin enters the next difficult stage of his journey - brain surgery - I enter into a journey of my own in solidarity and support. Coincidentally his surgery is scheduled to coincide with my cycle. Soon it will begin and there will be no going back! I hope you will join me, and please, please support Fin and his family by donating to Cavernoma Alliance UK. Maybe, just maybe, we'll surprise each other along the way. Liberation comes from giving unconditionally, and, when it comes, receiving with thankfulness. We all need things that transcend our expectations, that challenge our courage and that surprise us - plus, we all like to root for the underdog, don't we?
Finally, a massive thanks to all who will support me on this journey, please, please, please donate! A huge thanks to all the sponsors whose financial assistance has been invaluable. And a big thanks to my employers at the University of Aberdeen who have kindly allowed me the time to take on this challenge.
'Unless the risk of love is taken, fear will petrify all the good intentions of the world.' John Middleton MurryDonate by text: Send CAJS80 £5 to 70070
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