Hoping to help these guys...

Hoping to help these guys...

Thursday, 11 August 2016

For What It's Worth

Today marks one month until the start in Seattle (nervous much?), so now is as fine a time as any to mention the two causes that we are helping.

Combat Stress are the people who help combat veterans who have suffered psychological wounds whilst serving their country: more commonly known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It was formed in May 1919, and then known as the Ex-Servicemen's Welfare Society: it was ahead of its time. The prevailing attitude to mental welfare was, by today's standards, primitive, even barbaric.

Those who suffered from mental breakdown during their Service life received little or no sympathy. At the end of the War there were thousands of men returning from the front and from sea suffering from shell-shock. Many were confined in Mental War Hospitals under Martial Law - with the risk of being sent on, without appeal, to asylums.

But the founding mothers of Combat Stress (they were mainly women) believed that these men could be helped to cope with their condition through a rehabilitation programme.  Work was seen as essential to masculine identity; it provided men with financial security and many doctors believed it to be an excellent form of therapy. So, for many years, Combat Stress ran employment schemes that created real work opportunities for Veterans.

A lot has changed since then (not least the charity's name), and they are working with more than 5,900 Veterans who suffer mental ill-health. Residential and community treatment programmes support Veterans with severe PTSD, anxiety and depression. Combat Stress also works in partnership with other organisations to support the welfare of our Veterans within their community.

The physical wounds are obvious but it is the insidious nature of PTSD and the natural reluctance of people to want to admit to having a problem that make this such a challenge. Nightmares, flashbacks, sleepless nights and depression are indicators of the condition, and of course there is the risk of this leading to other destructive behaviours like excessive drinking, gambling and violence. 

Raising the profile of CS: until this year I had never heard of them either.
They offer a free service to ex-service people and their clinical treatments and support services are proven to work. It's no less than these people deserve, right? Right. To be honest, until this year I had never even heard of Combat Stress- all the service charities that I knew about focused on the physical wounds suffered but it seems so obvious that the other side of the coin needs help too.

Combat Stress have co-opted an awareness and fundraising campaign that was started by a similar charity in the US: the idea is to complete 22 press-ups everyday for 22 consecutive days. The significance of the featured number is taken from an awful statistic: apparently 22 combat veterans take their own lives everyday in the US.

Personalised 'plate for the trip.
Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook have video clips of various loons taking part in the challenge, and to that end I thank cycling pals John, Bruce and Ant for doing the hard work and publicising my ickle bike ride! For what it's worth, I do have two or three *unusual* plans for completing the 22 challenge on the trip...

Please follow this link to help those suffering from PTSD!

The other cause is Bloodwise, and they have changed their name too as they were known as Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research until a few years ago but their mission remains the same. They've been working to beat blood cancer since 1960...to stop people dying from blood cancer; to make patients’ lives better; and to look for ways to stop blood cancer before it starts. Needless to say, all this vital and continuous work costs money. That's where we step in!
They set-out to help and support anyone affected by blood cancers.
I know that there are quite a few cancer charities and I'm sure that like me, you get tired and blase to all the appeals for money, almost wondering if you're wasting your time and cash.
A sponsor sent me this email today and I include it here only to show that the time, effort and money that goes to research and caring for those affected by the many strains of cancer *does* make a positive difference...I know it's so easy to get fed-up and have 'compassion fatigue'. I get it too!
"Yes I will happily sponsor you. It’s nice to see Blood Cancer on the map too as this sometimes get overlooked. FYI my brother had Non Hodgkins Lymphoma, luckily he was able to have my stem cells and platelets, which later on cured his cancer. The treatments now are expanding and improving. So this is another reason to donate!"

I think it's that often we don't hear about the success stories that have only come about because of our donations: it's easy to lose track of the real and lasting good that is being done. If you want to read what I'm on about, please follow this link here. You might have something in your eye afterwards though...
The money we raise *does* help people...let's do this!
The inevitable link to donate and help Bloodwise is here, thank you!

Training continues!
As I sit here typing this, the track cycling is in progress at the Rio Olympics. Man alive, now *they* are athletes- go Team GB! That reminds me of my own Olympic success. Sorta...

Thanks to Steve Ashworth for arranging. Top man!

One from Atlanta. Wow!

And as ever, we sign-off with one from the vaults...another Stephen was on one when he wrote this number. Wow!

A stone-cold classic!


  1. Is it true that the 14 Aug was your first ton in a year? if yes, how on earth are you gonna do 135 miles a day for a month! Anyway, I'm sure you'll find a way

    1. 'Fraid so...and not quite sure, would be the honest answer, hah-hah! Apparently Edgar is now frowned upon, so that's a dead-end too! Nah, preparation hasn't been the greatest I would be the first to admit so there will be an above-average amount of 'on a wing and a prayer' behaviour going on. Ah hell, I specialise in making things difficult, hah-hah!
      Never mind that bollocks, a great big thank you for your excellent Hawaii- really appreciate it Guv'nor. Cheers!