Saturday, 29 August 2009

*** Blog Post 100 *** 365challenge: DONE!

Well readers, welcome to my 100th blog post - this could be a long one!

I started this blog in August 2008, as I was starting out on my 365challenge for Cancer Research UK, and over the year, I've done my best to keep you informed of all the developments in my own 365challenge, as well as what's been happening as I try to develop the 365challenge concept beyond myself and bring more and more 365ers on board to help raise even more money for this vital cause.

It has been a truly wonderful year, with lots of "ups" and no "downs" that I can recall, which is great. Indeed, as I look back over it, I'd have to say that it has gone better than I could have possibly expected, and the icing on the cake for this particular posting is that I can very happily announce that this morning, August 29th 2009, 363 days into my 365challenge, I have completed my final 5 Km run to achieve my final challenge target of running the 135 Km distance that marks the length of Hadrian's Wall, my 6th and final challenge. Whoop Whoop!! (okay, I'll keep it down now, sorry).

It is hard to believe that it was only a little over a year ago, and just after we lost my sister, Brenda, to cancer, in July 2008, that I began to develop an idea to raise some money to help in the fight against cancer. The 365challenge started from my desire to do something that would capture the attention of potential sponsors - I felt that it had to be BIGGER than a one-off sponsored walk or run. It had to be something that showed just how seriously I was taking this cause and that I was going to give my all to earn the support of my sponsors.

When I put out the word that I was going to climb the 3 peaks, cycle the length of the UK, row the length of the Thames and swim the Channel to raise money for Cancer Research UK, well, it was always going to get people's attention, wasn't it? (I've since added a second round of the 3 peaks, and running the width of the country, along Hadrian's wall). That everyone then didn't drift off mildly annoyed with me, calling me a chancer and conman when I explained that I was going to complete these challenges over the course of my 365challenge year, accumulating mileage over my regular gym visits, is something for which I am truly grateful to you all. But that so many of you thought this was a flash of true inspiration and then queued up to sponsor me has been so rewarding and inspiring for me: I have felt truly humbled by the response.

That some of you then asked if you could play too has been further evidence to me that there are a lot of wonderful and committed people out there who were just looking for the right idea to come along to allow them to be part of the battle against cancer too. You are all heroes in my book, thank you for letting me know you.

And that has been a feature of this last year: I have encountered many wonderful, selfless people, who have given of themselves to support me and the 365challenge: from Nick and Paul with my website and logo, to all of the current and pending 365ers, to the CRUK staff who have encouraged and brainstormed with me on how we can make the 365challenge even bigger, and on to my family and friends who have been behind me from Day 1. There are a number of these people I have never met - we exchange emails now and again and I try to encourage them in their efforts - and this has been fantastic that they want to do keep doing their bit: they have gotten on with doing what they can to make a difference, and together we ARE making a difference!

So far, with just 8 x 365ers running active Justgiving pages, we have raised over £23000 for CRUK. With around another 10 x 365ers still putting their challenges and fund-raising pages together, there is absolutely no reason why this figure won't grow substantially. But of course, I WANT MORE! And with my own 365challenge ending, I now have some more time to devote to supporting the 365ers and working to find more and more people to take their own 365challenges for CRUK. The charity themselves continue to work with me and behind the scenes on ways that the 365challenge can fit into their grand plans too, so together, over time, I am positive that the 365challenge WILL play an important role in the fund-raising that is undertaken to support CRUK.

The end of my personal 365challenge will not see the end of my work for the 365challenge and CRUK. I'm already booked on a training afternoon to learn about being an ambassador for CRUK, speaking on their behalf to various groups, and I will be presenting the 365challenge to several conferences for CRUK later in the year. This thing has legs, so bear with me and keep popping back here to see what else I get up to for the cause.

The title of this blog contains a subtitle: "tracking my charity fund-raising efforts over 365 days" ... I will now alter this to add the words "and beyond" ... watch this space!

1 comment:

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