I have been blessed in the last few years to have been able to take part in some truly amazing challenges to raise funds for 2 charities particularly special to me - Cancer Research UK and Scotland's fabulous young charity, Its Good 2 Give! I've walked the West Highland Way in 3 days, completed The UK 3 Peaks Challenge in under 24 hours, run numerous Kilomathons, 10ks, 5ks, the "Bupa Great North Run" Half Marathon, taken part in The Moonwalk, The Kiltwalk, Pedal for Scotland and more recently climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, the world's highest free standing mountain and trekked 100k in the Arctic in 3 days. And rather staggeringly, I've raised over £60,000 for these favourite causes in the process. In the early days, my twin daughters, Olivia and Devenee, could easily have been persuaded to join me but now as teenagers, they continue to support me immensely but from the sidelines.

Anyway. It's that time of year again and I am donning my fundraising hat anew and heading off to attempt something a bit different. This time I've set myself 3 big/huge/enormous challenges over the next 18 months and given that it's my 45th birthday bang smack in the middle, I've set myself arguably my biggest ever challenge and that's to raise £45,000 in my 45th Year.

To hopefully earn your very kind support and generosity for the cause, I have challenged myself to the following:
- To trek along The Great Wall of China (September 2016)
-To climb Mulhacen, Spain's highest mountain (June 2017)
-To trek along the base of the Grand Canyon (October 2017)

To get myself fit and motivated and prepared, there are many other events that I've taken part in this year already like the Dryathlon in January (no booze for a month - tougher than Kilimanjaro let me tell you), The Mighty Deerstalker (10 miles of trail running, up and over hills and obstacles, through rivers and all taking place at night and in early March so think "worst conditions imaginable") and just recently, in an attempt to cure my fear of heights, allowed myself to be hoisted into the air in a swinging basket by a crane then Ziplined across the River Clyde in Glasgow (as a cure I can categorically assure you that it didn't work)...and there will be others - hopefully the London Marathon 2017 if I can secure a place. But I'm working towards The Big 3 in my greatest challenge yet and I'm calling it Challenge K45.

Like always, I'm doing this to raise money for Cancer Research UK (CRUK) which charity carries out ground-breaking and lifesaving research at a grassroots level into all 200+ cancers. I want to remember those of my family and friends who have been touched by this horrible disease and most importantly, to celebrate the lives of those who have been saved by the work of CRUK and who are still with us today. I have agreed with CRUK that this time around my fundraising monies will be ring fenced to benefit the research work of CRUK in Scotland primarily at The Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow and The Cancer Research UK Edinburgh Cancer Centre at the Western General in Edinburgh. CRUK also funds research and Clinical Trials carried out in other hospitals throughout Scotland.

I'm also raising funds for "Its Good 2 Give!", which helps young cancer patients and their families across Scotland. This wonderful charity was founded by an inspirational friend of mine, Lynne McNicoll, and delivers not only support at a local level in the east of Scotland but at a national level in building The Ripple Retreat on the banks of Loch Venachar in The Trossachs. Conceived as a warm, welcoming and relaxing environment for families living with cancer, this stunning retreat will offer much needed respite in a beautiful natural setting. With building work now well underway, it hopes to welcome its first families very soon. It is therefore a privilege to know that my fundraising will also benefit those whose struggle has been and will be made easier by the work of It's Good 2 Give!

So thankyou, once again, for taking the time to read this. I should, of course, point out that these challenges, like all the others beforehand, are paid for by myself and not through any sponsorship monies raised. So please help, please dig deep - even the smallest donation makes a difference...

Quite simply, these challenges are dedicated by me to "those who were loved and lost, for those who have fought and won and for those who are fighting hard"....I salute you all.

Kae xxx