I had a long chat with Sophie at Solving Kids Cancer during the week. We talked about all sorts of things, but in particular we focussed on ways of taking the Ride2Cure Neuroblastoma project forward most effectively.
I told her that the most important thing from my perspective is to feel like I’m still able to make a difference, and that there have been many times down the years when I didn’t feel like that was the case. I explained that I gave up chasing personal sponsorship a long time ago because the money stopped coming in. We agreed that people are more likely to donate to someone who’s going for a one-off challenge like running a marathon than they are to support someone or something that runs indefinitely.
I made the transition from fundraiser to awareness raiser a long time ago, and it was on that basis that I set the R2CN fundraising goal at £2222 when I set out on the R2C2 leg of the trilogy. The original LCFN target was ten grand, which I eventually made, but it took a long time and a load of chasing.
Well this week, I hit £2222.
In six months.
So the obvious question is “how and why did that happen?”
The answer is relatively simple. It lies in the legacy of the journey: taking the story out on the road and interacting with groups rather than individuals.
Irvine AFC were the first entity to jump onboard by matching the miles with pennies last July, and every month since.
The prisoners at HMP Shotts were the big benefactors, raising almost £1900 from the bike ride that we did in recreating the Ride2Cure from Brisbane to Adelaide on spin bikes.
And the staff and parents at Nether Robertland Primary School in Stewarton put the icing on the cake by donating the proceeds of their Christmas concerts to Solving Kids Cancer following my R2CN presentation to Primaries 6 and 7 last month.
Those donations, along with the money that came in to match the December miles, have taken the collective kitty over the magic £2222.
Therein lies a pointer for the future.
The future lies in taking the story on the road, not on two wheels but to schools and businesses. So the way we’re going to play it is that Sophie, wearing her SKC hat, is going to target the Active Schools projects in South Ayrshire, North Ayrshire and East Ayrshire with the message “We have this chap who’s supporting us in your area, who got an extraordinary tale to tell….”
Sophie asked me how I got started in the first place and I told her the story of of wee Oscar, of Vanessa and of Mackenzie, and how I was drawn to the social media promptings of Jim McGinley. And her reply hit the nail right on the head: it’s only by putting the story out there that you engage with people, and it’s only by engaging with people that you eventually make the most important connections. Jim hooked me: who’s not to say that a kid might go home from school and tell his or her folks that they had a talk from a bloke about a bike ride today, and that that connection might then bear fruit. That’s the way this works. Awareness comes from the most random of sources sometimes.
For the first time in a long time, I actually feel valued by Solving Kids Cancer. Sophie asked about the content of school presentations so I’ve sent the latest one through to her. It’s a developing story because there’s always something new to add ahead of the next visit. I’ve asked her to share it with her colleagues because I think it will make a difference, even inside their own wee community. I hope that when they watch it, they’ll feel a real sense of commitment, and that in turn can only help the Ride2Cure Neuroblastoma message grow ever louder and stronger.
Another big positive this week has been a request by Hammerhead, makers of the Karoo – the piece of navigation kit that guided me across Australia – to share the Ride2Cure Neuroblastoma story on their website. I’m a big fan of their box of tricks and they are clearly very appreciative of what I’ve done with their toy. As a global brand, this level of support can only go one way.
Now I need to crack the corporate market. In that regard, the message is exactly the same as the one I’ve giving in previous lectures: everyone is unlimited. But rather than me banging on doors, SKC will hopefully be able open those doors on my behalf. But it’s only now, with the legacy of where R2CN has come from, that we’re able to make this meaningful.
And talking of meaningful, nothing is more meaningful than the effort that goes in day after day, out on the road. One thing that knocked the Hammerhead guys over with a feather is that Anna Meares inspired the (current) R2C2 leg of the journey. Anna and I share a common passion for supporting kids with life threatening illnesses, a bond that goes back five years to the time she held the LCFN flag with Jimmy Harrington in the Adelaide Velodrome (now the Anna Meares Velodrome). And that one is down to my good friends Angela and Tara for making it happen. As you’re reading this, you might think “but that’s nothing to do with me”. You’d be wrong: this story only makes a difference because people are prepared to put their heads above the parapet and ask the question…
“Would my workplace benefit from hearing this story?”
“Would my colleagues be inspired to raise their commitment level – in anything – from average to on it?”
An inspired person is fundamentally a happy person. Inspiration overcomes all. Inspired people achieve things. Ride2Cure Neuroblastoma continues to achieve things simply because I’m inspired by where this journey has come from.
This weekend is a family weekend in the remote middle of nowhere in the Trossachs of Scotland. It’s the celebration of wee Ross’s 30th, held over because he was in the final throes of becoming the World Champion at the time of his proper birthday. See, it’s not just the Queen that gets two bites at the cherry.
It’s as hilly as fuck round here, even more so than back home, with the exception of the jolly over the Fenwick Muir to Glasgow: that runs it close. A decent bag of miles today is all well and good but you’re only as good as what tomorrow brings: and tomorrow is bringing a storm, so put together a load of climbing with 40mph of wind and driving rain and you have a pretty heady brew of pain and commitment.
It’ll be Stage 195 of R2C2. No days missed. 33 miles a day average. When I clocked up Stage 100 three months ago, I talked about hitting a big one. When I bagged Stage 150, I thought I was getting somewhere: 150 felt like the start of big: but now 200 is just around the corner then I’ll focus solely on Stage 250 and keep working away. This run will end, and I know exactly when, because Jane and I are heading to Australia later in the year, and the bike’s not going with me (this time). But when we get home, I’ll just start all over again…
So for now, I’m just gonna keep making hay while the sun isn’t shining, and hope that between us, Sophie at Solving Kids Cancer et moi can nail the next level of awareness.
£2222 and counting.