On Saturday December the 16th at 9.30 am on the Larnaca seafront in Cyprus, i will be attempting to stand on a box for 24 straight hours. Seems like a weird way to spend a large part of my weekend right?! I’ll admit, i would much rather spend those 24 hours sleeping in, going for a coffee, watching the football, then finishing it off with date night with my wife. Yet, due to a variety of beliefs and ideas, it could be the most important 24 hours of my life to date.
There are two reasons for me embarking on this challenge.
1) To raise awareness of the power preventative measures play in the fight against cancer.
As great as raising funds to finding a cure for this disease is, and i urge anyone to continue contributing in such a way, i believe until a cure is finally found, prevention is a more powerful and effective tool. Like almost everyone i meet, i have had people within my close circle of family and friends effected by cancer. My father in law is currently in treatment for the disease; My grandmother is also fighting her battle. One person not so lucky was my mothers long time partner, who died very soon after learning of his diagnosis. It seems as though if someone has not directly confronted the disease themselves, they have a loved one who is having to do so. Cancer rates are on the rise everywhere (In the U.K statistics have been rounded up to 1 in 2 developing the disease!) In Cyprus, the last 6 years have seen the rates skyrocket so much, that the health systems in place are on their hands on knee’s trying to help treat people.
Treatment is improving, but it’s costly. Not to mention the physical and emotional pain that the patient experiences during treatment. And then there is the supporting loved ones who tend to be forgotten about, yet suffer tremendously themselves. So much of this suffering is unnecessary and can be avoided if only people just took a little more responsibility and looked after them selves that bit better. I’m not asking people to live like monks or athletes, just to be aware that simple lifestyle changes can make such a huge difference and save many lives.
Exercise is vital for maintaining a healthy lifestyle
Now i understand that in today’s modern world no one person, no matter what preventative and seemingly healthy measures they take, can be completely bulletproof to this disease. Genetics play a role (albeit much smaller than most believe may i add,) unknown factors of the modern lifestyle, atmosphere and simply enjoying some of life’s pleasures and vices, mean that cancer will probably always be around. I don’t even consider myself to be a health freak. I am healthier than the average, but i am not doing everything in my power to be as healthy and preventative as possible. I eat my share of junk food and probably drink a little too much most Saturday nights! Yet for the most part i look after myself. If i were to develop cancer, or any other disease for that matter, i would consider my self very unlucky, yet if everyone led, at the least, the lifestyle me and my wife do, i am sure the numbers would be cut drastically. I am not trying to take the morale high ground here. I just want to be clear that in most cases, this is a disease that is largely preventable.
Like i mentioned above, you don’t have to make huge and daunting changes to your lifestyle that could save your life. You also don’t have to eradicate any fun and enjoyment from your life. In fact as a man who has lived life on both sides of the coin, living healthily improves all aspects of existence. You’ll have more energy, focus and clarity leading to greater productivity. Your self-esteem will go up and attract more positive people and occurrences into your life. Sleep improves, your immune system will get stronger, motivation rises and even your sex drive! The list goes on and on. Below is a list of articles citing the benefits of exercise and a healthy diet can make with relation to preventing many types of cancers:
A healthy diet can go a long way in preventing cancer
2) Being able to step outside of my one’s comfort zone and challenging one’s self in order to grow.
Growing up and living in such developed countries such as England and Cyprus, comfort is everywhere. So much of the options we have is to make our lives easier. As i write this, i sit in a air-conditioned coffee shop, on a comfortable couch, in comfortable clothes, drinking coffee shipped from Peru, typing on a high powered laptop. And once i’m done i will go home, put last nights dinner in the microwave, eat, get in my car and drive to my job! There is not much effort on my part, involved in any of what i just mentioned. I’m certainly not complaining. I am grateful everyday for even such simple comforts like bottled water or soft toilet paper! Yet, as humans when we constantly live satisfying our instant gratification because we have such luxuries at our disposal, we lose so much of the fundamentals of what actually made us human in the first place. Thousands of years ago environments were harsh and dangerous. Food was scarce. It was a constant battle and ever present fear just to stay alive. As a result our bodies were hardened and adapted. Our minds sharp and focused. In contrast, today’s fight to survive is making sure you have enough battery on your phone so you can look up the number for the local delivery service!
Constant comfort gratification makes our minds, bodies and souls weak. As humans the body needs movement. Our minds need to problem solve and stay sharp. We can’t grow without challenging ourselves. Going into elements of the unknown, where you haven’t been before will do that. And in today’s world you need to seek those challenges out. It doesn’t have to be standing on a box for 24 hours straight like some crazy idiot! Nor does it need to be climbing mountains or rowing across oceans. You can find these challenges during a workout. By running that bit longer than the day before. Or going the extra mile for the customer at work. It could be at school getting your head down on the work at hand instead of talking with your mates about who fancies who. Or at home doing the dishes before it piles up. Taking the stairs instead of the lift etc etc.
This challenge drew inspiration from a childhood idol of mine; David Blaine. He stood on a 30ft pole in New York for 36 hours
Me standing on a box for 24 hours is my way of challenging my self and finding out what i’m capable of. It’s my way of trying to inspire as many people as i can to lead more healthy and enjoyable lives, even if it’s just 1 person it touches, that’s good enough for me. I hope this blog and challenge inspire you to also make some positive changes. And if not the least i ask of you is to share this post on as many platforms as you can. I will be forever grateful. It would also be great if you could tune in at some point during our live feed of the event to send your support, or even tell me i wont make it as this also motivates me greatly! Follow updates during the event on my instagram page @horgan.kyriacou and send your support in via the hashtag #StandingvsCancer I hope it all helps. Thanks guys!