It might be a perfect team, it may be a perfect challenge, it may even be a perfect package, but one of the obstacles Race Across America riders face, is that simply getting your team to the start line is an achievement in itself, particularly if you and your team don't live in the USA.
RAAM takes money, it takes backing, but you can have the most beautiful looking sponsorship proposal around. It means nothing if what you're doing doesn't mean anything to you. I always say it's easiest to sell what you're really passionate about, but people still ask...
Why RAAM? Why epilepsy? Why this kind of challenge and why should we care?
The short answer is, that in order to explain properly the answer to those questions, I can't give a short answer. But give me a ruddy big elevator and here goes:
I've said this before and in order to provide context I'm going to say it again. I'm in a very privileged position. So I'm not going to waste it.
I have epilepsy, but I'm one of the 5% of people with the condition, who was eligible for surgery. I have had such great care that even when the surgery had only removed 99% of my condition, medication was found to be able to control the rest we think. I'm in a position where I can demonstrate, just how much epilepsy actually effects the people who have it's capabilities and look for coverage of what I'm doing to try and save lives. The fact of the matter is sport doesn't lie. In an extreme form, it can demonstrate just what individuals are capable of. Why RAAM? Well, in its Solo category it's amassed less official finishers than individuals to summit Everest. To date there has never been a British female to finish the race Solo.
So that's what I'm trying to do. To push my body beyond any normal limits to show that epilepsy doesn't affect people in the way much of society expects it to. Gaining coverage of this will allow me to get the message out about what to do for epilepsy first aid. So to answer the question, why should anyone care? This kind of awareness has the ability to turn preventable deaths into saved lives.
Epilepsy kills more people than cot death and HIV Aids combined, each year.
Why epilepsy? Well, because it's grossly underfunded and in some cases very badly stigmatised. Having to deal with the condition is one thing, but having to deal with the stigma on top, is another. It's inexcusable that people are overlooked in such important areas of their life, because they're viewed as a condition and not as the person they are and can be.
The stigma is such that I know of many individuals who are in public life, that won't admit to having epilepsy, because they're in fear they could never work in their discipline again. Given the lack of knowledge about the condition, it's not shameful, it's understandable. So if what I'm doing inspires just one other individual to speak about their epilepsy and they had the power to inspire another person with the condition to talk about theirs and so on, then my job is done.
So there you have it. I'd like to think we are a great team and this is a really exciting project. I'm confident we have that box ticked. But for a company looking for something which is not only a cool concept, but that has the potential to change opinion and attitudes and even to save lives, I genuinely believe Team Epilepsy Forward ticks that box too.
We're not just a project that sounds fun and has a charity stuck on the side for good measure, we're a team with a purpose and a mission.
All we need are people who believe in us enough to help us achieve it.
... I think this is your floor by the way.