This is a guest post by my younger sister, Jen, who accepted a spur of the moment challenge on twitter the other night which ended with her racing across London in time to be interviewed by a guy who is living in a shop window for a week. All to raise funds and profile for the Peter Mac Centre and the Ride to Conquer Cancer. What a star.. Thanks for being such a good sport Jen, and Steve in the box. What a wonderful way to use the internet.
When I was little, my big brother used to drag me, seated in a cardboard box, around the house. Today… he challenged me to race to a box for a cause he knew I would not turn down.
At around 10:56am this morning I read a tweet from my big brother Adam telling me about a guy living in a box (okay, so its actually a box-like shop-front) and suggesting I get down and check it out at some point. Then he added a bi-line suggesting that I accept the challenge of getting there and getting a pic of me and ‘the guy in the box’ to tweet. Then… to do it within 100 minutes and he would donate $100 to The Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation. He suggested that if I didn’t, it may be because I am a ‘chicken’. I am not a chicken. A challenge, a dare, a bet… of course I will do it! I did not know why the guy was in his box and I did not even know where said box was but of course I will do it
I quickly tweeted ‘the guy in the box’ to get the location. Elizabeth Street in Victoria. I am currently in Kentish Town. I think I can do this. Now I just needed to plot an escape route from work. I started with a brief attempt at the old ‘taking an early lunch’ routine before realising that my colleagues faces suggested that this was an implausible story to proceed with. I found myself saying something along the lines of “there’s a guy in a box near Victoria and if I get there soon it will be a good thing for cancer”. They accepted this from me and told me to go go go and stop wasting time talking about it”.
I jumped on the Northern Line, out of breath, can of diet coke in hand to give me the caffeine I needed to pull it all off. I threw the drink back before arriving at Euston and making the fastest transfer to the Victoria Line in history. All good, plenty of time… I exit the station… and… feeling confident, stop to take a picture of Victoria Station to tweet my progress. And off I go again…. Down the wrong street. Do you know how hard it is to use GPS Maps on your phone when you are adrenal and in a hurry? I tweeted my error before backtracking. And then I realised I had missed my turn. This time I didn’t announce it via Twitter. I had no idea of the time but my eyes glancing at the taunting tweets coming though from Australia and the knowledge that I would be publicly shamed (and have to pay the said $100 donation) if I didn’t make it.
I made it to Elizabeth Street. All I had was the postcode, no door number. According to my phone’s GPS… I had reached my destination. ‘I beg to differ’, I thought as I scurried along scanning the shop fronts… still completely unsure of what it was that I was looking for… and there it was “Life in a Box” written above a shop window. I quickly posted that I had completed the challenge and crossed the road, waving at Steve and a cameraman sitting behind the glass smiling back. Steve took the required picture of me outside his window. After smiling at each other through the glass for a few minutes and me taking a picture of Steve in his window, I was invited in.
I couldn’t believe it… I was going to go INSIDE THE BOX. The door opened and I found myself inside… with a video camera pointed at me and Steve pleasantly welcoming me to his box, where he will be until Friday. I learned that he had been challenged to be inside the box from 7am-7pm each day and had to source what he needed in his box using only the Internet. I took a seat on his new sofa. He pointed out that he had a new beanbag and sofa, and that being inside the box was harder than he expected it to be. I explained quickly to the camera that I was actually supposed to be at work, providing some sort of disclaimer to my boss in the event that he saw the video before me. I then moved onto the important topics… enquiring as to whether he has access to a toilet and shower (don’t pretend you wouldn’t have wondered the same thing!!).
We marvelled at the fact that Adam (@banzaiadventure) in Australia had heard about Steve (@lifeinthebox2012) being in the box in London before me, and that as a result I had raced across the city of London all in the name of charity. We wondered how Adam had heard about the box, and after explaining that my brother, being the Banzai Adventurer, was frequently doing amazing feats of physical and mental endurance, is always looking for new ways to raise money for charity. I explained that he had set down the challenge via twitter this morning, suggested that if I didn’t do it that I would be a ‘chicken’… and explained that I had always had trouble turning turn requests from my big brother. We realised that Steve and Adam actually had quite a bit in common, as Steve is a personal trainer who also does quite a few ultras himself – and as Adam last week did the Surf Coast Century – there may have been some mutual connections they had via Twitter, Facebook, or the many other forms of social media.
I returned back to work feeling exilerated that i had just done this challenge on an absolute whim and managed to pull it off, that I had not had any work meetings or appointments to prevent me from doing this, that I had managed to, along with Adams hard earned cash, contribute to the amazing work being done at Peter MacCallum in Cancer Research and Treatment.
How was I going to be able to concentrate on my job this afternoon when I had achieved so much in the previous 100 minutes? I also pondered how tedious my lunchbreaks are going to seem from now on.
I got back to work and my boss walked through the door soon after. Typically, my sense of responsibility to my employers and compulsion to always tell the truth took over and I immediately blurted out that I had taken “an extended lunch break to go see a man in a box because my brother dared me to. It was for charity”. He just looked at me with a confused look on his face, said ‘good’, and went back to what he was doing.
I did this for a very worthy charity. But also….. because I. AM. NOT. A. CHICKEN.
If you like this story and it in some little way inspires you.. please consider donating a small amount to the Peter Mac Centre for Cancer Research.
Check out Adams alter-ego on twitter as @banzaiadventure or here
On Facebook here – https://www.facebook.com/#!/Banzaiadventurer
And see his blog here: https://banzaiadventurer.wordpress.com/
See more about the recipient of the money raised here – Peter Mac – A Patients Story
Find out more about Steve – in the box here