Nerves of Steel

What’s your biggest, strongest, deep-rooted, visceral fear? What makes you tremble, or scream and run away, trampling any and all seniors and small children in your path? Maybe you’re afraid of hairy spiders, or great heights. Perhaps it’s the idea of singing in front of an audience, or taking a dip in a dark lake. (Please don’t tell me it’s an ice bucket.)

Would you face your fear to raise money for cancer? That’s the basis of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Fearless Challenge campaign. Celebrities and commoners alike are crowdfunding for cancer while promising to take on whatever makes them shake in their boots. Some of them will eat gross stuff. Others vow to make various radical grooming choices such as head-shaving and hair-dyeing. The bravest ones (yep, guess what my fear is) are skydiving, bungee jumping and, gulp, leaning over the edge of the CN Tower, apparently secured by nothing more than a filament that could surely snap in the breeze of a passing pigeon’s wingbeat.

I will pause here while my palpitations return to normal (thanks, vivid imagination). The fascinating thing about the Fearless Challenge campaign is that everyone’s particular constellations of fear are unique. One guy doing the challenge is so shy that, to him, high-fiving a stranger is terrifying. Another man is leery of confrontation. His idea of facing fear is fighting a sumo wrestler. One woman doing the challenge says she’s prepared to accept her boyfriend’s marriage proposal. Um. We won’t even. We just won’t.

Whatever your fears are, you’ll probably find something on the campaign website that resonates with you. And maybe inspires you. In fact, perhaps yours will be the next face we see posted on the Fearless Challenge page, promising to play with snakes, or tuck into a fresh piece of uni sushi, or finally tell your boss what you really think of her. Hey, we won’t judge. It’s your journey.

The CN Tower EdgeWalk: My own Fearless Challenge is just looking at this picture. Oh my. (Photo copyright of Canada Lands Company CLC Ltd.)

The CN Tower EdgeWalk: My own Fearless Challenge is just looking at this picture. Oh my. (Photo copyright of Canada Lands Company CLC Ltd.)

2 responses to “Nerves of Steel

  1. I’m with you Lisa, I almost want to throw up looking at that picture, it is so frightening. Interestingly in the past two years I have faced two of my greatest fears. Cycling 30 km around a major European city – Vienna. Actually they have wonderful cycle paths throughout the city, it was the 30 km that scared me and walking the narrow cliff path around Walnut Canyon in Arizona. I was so scared I couldn’t take Ativan in case it made me more light headed so I just shook until I was half way round and then took the Ativan knowing it would take 15 minutes to fully kick in and by then I’d have completed the walk. A year previously it had been a canopy walk and ziplining which I had to do, no big problem with ziplining, but the canopy walk which was a series of rope bridges with pieces missing that connected the trees going up a hillside was a real challenge. I think if I’d known that I was raising funds for cancer while doing them, they might have been easier to do. It’s easier to be brave when you are doing something for a worthy cause.

  2. I think you said it, Veronica! I can think of times when I’ve been in frightening situations, but acted bravely because it made a difference. So yeah, maybe I’d lean out on the CN Tower ledge just a teeny, tiny bit – if it meant fundraising for cancer. Thanks for the comment! And congrats on facing your fears.

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