Turning “I can’t” to “I can” for Charity

What? 30 miles of biking???

I can’t do that.

What? 22 miles of hiking???

I can’t do that.

My reaction, when I was told about Maggie’s Monster Bike and Hike silver challenge. The event is held every year starting at Fort William. This year it is held on the 30th April 2011. The words “I can’t “ seemed to trip off my tongue so easily. The mammoth task that had just been laid out in front of me, struck me with fear. How on earth would I be able to accomplish such a task?

But then, I thought about what the event was in aid of. Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres, who support people living with cancer. Every person that is aware of Maggie’s, have had nothing but good words to say about the charity and how it helps to make a difference for people living with cancer in the UK. Tens of thousands of people are newly diagnosed with cancer in Scotland every year, and with advances in research more people are surviving and living longer. This makes the support Maggie’s offer to people with cancer, their friends and family even more important `

Then my mind went back to the task at hand. “I can’t” was just so negative. I thought about it carefully, and considered, what “I can” do? Well, “I can” focus on a plan to get my fitness level up in order to do the task “I can” start to go to the gym and cycle. “I can” do two or three days a week for half an hour on the cycle machine. Eventually this progressed to four to five days a week for an hour on the cycle machine, whilst building my resistance on the gears. Furthermore, “I can” also walk on the treadmill. “I can” start to walk 1 mile. Eventually progressing to two and before I knew it I had done 10 miles. Another thing “I can” do is also buy a bike and the necessary equipment that went with it. “I can” train with others. This definitely helped me a lot, as I knew there were other people going through the same thing I was. “I can” also get out and cycle. I will never forget my first attempt of cycling outdoors. I have not cycled outdoors for a good 18 years!

Modern bikes have all sort of gears and contraptions that they never had in my day. It was comical, every time I tried to cycle, I kept veering off into a direction I did not want to go. In order to stop, I tried braking with my feet! (well, there was never any need to brake on the cycle machine at the gym!) thus resulting in me falling down a few times. I was
advised that perhaps using the brakes on the bike would help. And that was just the start of it. My second attempt to cycle in the outdoors, was just as much as a struggle. Getting use to the gears was difficult when going up and down hill.

I found cycling up hill the most difficult and boy did I want to cry when I came upon a long stretch of road which was continuously uphill and winding. As I was not use to changing to the correct gear in time, it was so hard to pedal. When I eventually got the right gear, though I was pedalling furiously, but hardly moving at all. I had to psyche myself up and push myself.

Running through my head was the mantra “I can do this, I can do this”. And I did do it! Other things “I can” do, was buy hiking shoes. “I can” walk the Pentlands. And now I walked in wind, rain and snow. By doing all the things that “I can” do, little by little, has changed my perspective. I view cycling and hiking as integral part of my life now, which will still be here long after Maggie’s Monster Bike and Hike event. My “I can” approach has got my fitness levels up and I have found activities that I enjoy doing. I also discovered the beauty of the Scottish landscapes in Mid and East Lothian.

My “I can” do attitude, has helped me raise over £500 towards Maggie’s Cancer Trust. Therefore “I can’t” can be turned
into “I can” with so many benefits.

Anyone wishing to donate for Maggie’s Monster Bike and Hike, please go to www.justgiving.com/Tulo-To/

or if you wish to raise funds in your own event, donate or volunteer for Maggie’s call  0300 123 1801 or

Email:  SUPPORTERCARETEAM@MAGGIESCENTRES.ORG

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