What’s your motivation?

I find that when it comes to fund-raising, especially of the physical challenge type. It’s always best to have a specific source of motivation or encouragement to get you through. To get you through the preparation or training, to get you to the start line, and to get you through the tough bits which will inevitably come sooner or later.

In the past year I’ve been a part of 2 gruelling challenges, and will soon be partaking in a third (more on that later), and on both of these challenges the motivation has been called “Jack!”

Last September, we cycled the original Jack’s Journey, over 130 miles in 2 days which covered Jack’s route during his diagnosis. Many, many hours of training went in before this task which, as I’m told is the way to do it, made the 2 days slightly more enjoyable than they would have been otherwise. But the principle motivation behind that was the charity’s namesake, and my son, Jack.

Jack had been receiving Vincristine, one of the many drugs which form part of Jack’s chemotherapy plan. Depending on the specific of each child’s treatment plan, vincristine can be administered for short spells, or routinely over long periods, but either way, it comes with significant side effects. In Jack’s case this was extreme lower body pain which in the end resulting in Jack not being able to walk at all. Having only recently learned to walk at the time, this was a major step back, and only once the vincristine was finished could Jack learn to walk again.

Knowing that Jack was going through such pain meant that I couldn’t wimp out of a ‘laal’ bike ride across the width of the country. In fact, when climbing the horrors that are whinlatter, hartside, garrigil and Stanhope the burn in my legs was a stark reminder of why I was doing what I was doing.

The bike ride raised over £6000 for CLIC Sargent, and was one of the reasons Jack’s Journey became what it is today.
This weekend was slightly different, but it all came down to another Jack.

Jack Marshall. What a Man!

This weekend, 23 of us joined together to help Jack on his toughest challenge yet, reaching the highest point in Great Britain, the summit of Ben Nevis. Jack is no stranger to a bit of a hike, having already conquered Snowdon and Helvellyn (via striding edge, no point making it easy!) in aid of his charity of choice: Bloodwise, so taking on “Big Ben” was a natural progression.

Waking at 5.00am on Saturday to a rather promising day, Matt and I joined the rest of the team, including Mark from the aforementioned Jack’s Journey cycle team, and set off just before 7. Jack struggles on uneven ground, and it’s fair to say not much of the route to the summit is even, so at least a pair of the 23 aided Jack up to the top. At some points, there were as many as 5 tied to Jack in order to keep his balance and aid him in his effort.

And what did Jack do? Just kept walking. And signing, and ripping into Mark or anyone else that was unlucky enough to be slayed by Jacks sense of humour. More stepping, more jokes and more laughs, up to 1344m, with very little in the way of moaning. Just “How many more football pitches” which became the standard measure of the day. Football pitches and zigzags. Counting them down, through rain, hail and wind until we literally reached for the clouds.

Jack’s effort amazed everyone out on the hill over the weekend, but he truly kept the team going with his efforts. On the way down, I managed to have twisted my knee and was struggling myself to the point that I couldn’t offer Jack as much support as I would have liked, but knowing the effort he was putting in kept me going, and I’m sure it was the same for many of the rest of the team. He truly is an inspiration, and every penny he has raised for Bloodwise has definitely been earned.

As I type, Jack’s just giving page is at £2967.00. If you can, it is a wonderfully worthy cause, and deserves to reach £3000, give £1 and help it get that little bit closer!

Both Jack’s will be inspiring me on 24th September when I take on the next challenge in aid of Jack’s Journey and “Cure Leukaemia” in the monstrous ’Velo Birmingham’. Over 100 miles around Birmingham and the surrounding counties will be a hell of a challenge, and more than I’ve rode in a hell of a long time, but with these 2 champions spurring me on (in mind), Matt yet again riding by my side (he’s promised not to take off as he so often does) and 10,000 other cyclists creating a aero-advantage, it promises to be a great day, and hopefully we’ll raise plenty for 2 great causes.

In due time, there’ll be a link to a new justgiving page if you’d wish to support this, but I don’t want to take away from Jack Marshall’s amazing effort at this time!