Off to visit family and visiting the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute

It feels like ages since I was last on annual leave back in February when I travelled to Madrid to visit my sister.  This period of time off is a little bit longer than the last but is going to be fairly full on.  In fact I am spending a good portion of my leave doing things for work through the ISAR team with a training day and a large exercise accounting for just under a week of my leave.  I will get the time back in some way though so I’m not really bothered that it has landed during my leave.

From Monday to Friday next week I am travelling down to Swindon, flying from Edinburgh to Bristol to see family.  I have a fairly large family and we are all pretty close –  even those who I guess would normally come under the ‘extended family’ banner.  But I have a great time with them and asked if I could go down and visit for the week.  I have no idea if there is anything planned or who will be about but I have got a blank week and in my experience they tend to be the best.  Planning and organisation have there place, but visiting people and seeing new places is always best when you find them without planning.  At least it is in my opinion.

I will be staying with my Aunt Marion and Uncle Glyn – Marion is my Grandads sister so I guess she’s technically my Great Aunt.  Glyn is a retired firefighter who used to work for the London Fire Brigade, and if you ever wondered where my curiosity and desire to join the fire service came from it was from Glyn.  He took me when I was 5 to visit his old station and meet the watch.  It is one of my most vivid memories from when I was a kid.  Glyn wasn’t a fan of health and safety and in a lot of ways let me do all the things you probably wouldn’t normally be allowed to do.  I think that’s what hooked me.  I still have the pictures from that day and it seems bizarre in a way that I have ended up where I am doing the same job that he did and loved.  Glyn has been retired for a good few years now but still keeps in touch with his old watch and I can understand why.  It is a job unlike any other.  Yes everyone has colleagues, but a lot of them become great mates as well and there isn’t many places where you will experience that.

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Sade my mums cousins daughter – my cousin as far as I am concerned, has been battling with breast cancer for the last year and hopefully she will be around for me to visit.  She has been through a lot this past year but has tackled it in the best possible way.  With a good sense of humour and a steadfast positivity and I can assure you that she has had it pretty rough.  She’s still fighting away though and I know she will never give in.  I don’t think I have seen Sade in about 16 years and we are both pretty different from back then!  It will be good to see them though and I am really looking forward to it.

It turns out my ISAR exercise is going to be a rather large one with about 2500 people involved.  It will be the biggest exercise I have ever taken part in, but an invaluable experience I am sure.  It will be about as close to the real thing as we can get and I am sure I will learn a lot from the time we are there.

What is going to be slightly tricky is that I am going to have to try and get a good few long runs in as the days count down to the Stirling Marathon.  It is going to be a super tough event and a marathon is something which is unquestionably intimidating.  It’s a heck of a long way and is going to test me to my limits I am sure.

I have been out on the bike a few times in the last couple of weeks and my legs are feeling stronger.   I am noticing the difference as time goes by and I am gaining more power and stamina with it.  I’m happy with where I am at on the bike just now and I am on target to be were I would like to ahead of the NC 500 in July.  A cycling kit has been approved and I am just waiting on it getting manufactured and sent out now so hopefully it will generate questions and more awareness for both Cancer Research UK and my challenges.  That’s the idea at least.  Making a short video of our journey round the NC 500 is something that I am mega keen to plan out and pursue.  It will be an incredible adventure and I would be really happy if we are able to document it and show people just what we put ourselves through in aid of Cancer Research UK.

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This past weekend I attended the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute in Glasgow for a ‘supporters day’.  The day was an opportunity for supporters to get an insight into the research that is on going and what the money that is raised goes towards.  The Beatson is incredible!  One of the most advanced cancer research facilities in the world and pioneering some of the best research and drugs in the world.  It is not a building that is open to the public and if you ever have the opportunity to go and see what they do I would highly recommend it.  The visit also reiterated to me just how expensive the research is and how important it is to keep raising the pounds that help fund its existence.  The research currently happening at the Beatson will help improve the lives of thousands of people and it was a humbling day to be a part of.

“Research is creating new knowledge” – Neil Armstrong

Another busy couple of weeks ahead and another challenge on its way, but I am enjoying this more than ever and I am looking forward to taking on the next steps as they come.

Thank you as always for the continued support, it certainly makes everything that little bit easier.

J.