Water is essential for human life…

…even if it’s the stuff that we curse as it falls from the sky. Water flushes toxins from your body. It makes your skin glow. It can even make headaches disappear without an aspirin. This simple combination of two hydrogen atoms and a single oxygen atom seems to have near-magical properties across a vast spectrum of life.

But, it turns out, drinking water can also raise research funds.

Our AlwaysBeContent team member Lou Kiddier serves on the board of Edinburgh Business Beats Cancer (EBBC). This initiative brings together leaders from the business community to support and advocate for Cancer Research UK Scotland.

The Business Beats Cancer Board are a great bunch of people with a great cause in mind.

Recently, however, Lou and the other members found themselves facing a particular challenge.

Since the novel coronavirus pandemic reached the UK, we’ve not been able to get out much. We couldn’t visit gran, pop down to the pub for a pint, or invite friends over for a grill on the patio.

But there was another, perhaps less visible downside. We weren’t able to participate in our broader communities. And it’s not just the farmers’ markets, exhibitions or outdoor concerts.

The lockdown also meant that a vast array of charity drives came to a halt. No glittery black-tie fundraisers. No trudging 26 miles overnight with 9,999 other people wearing decorated bras.

As a result, we saw Cancer Research UK’s research funding drop.

This surprised us, but Cancer Research UK’s funding decreased by the same amount in the past few months that they normally spend on clinical trials in an entire decade.

Lou and the board know that people depend on this research. New discoveries can render treatment more effective and less intrusive. So, these funds are vital in every sense of the word.

What can you do then? As creative partners of EBBC, Lou and the AlwaysBeContent team cooked up a challenge. We decided to substitute that hot cup of brew, as well as fizzy and boozy drinks, with simple, clear Scottish tap water.

The idea was straightforward: challenge ourselves, friends and EBC board members to drink only water for 20 days, while eating normally.

We would then ask people to support and join us. You could do the challenge in lockdown, sharing your experiences on social media. All, of course, to collect funds for cancer research. Simple enough.

Guess what? It worked.

Yes. Headaches and cravings did crop up early on, along with the occasional crankiness from the caffeine hiatus. But we managed it.

Beyond the small sacrifices, the challenge brought big personal benefits. Most of us slept better. We felt more alert and refreshed. Our skin had a healthier glow.

Clare, our behavioural change expert, even found she was more flexible. Her tennis game got sharper.

But more importantly, we collected over £12,000 for cancer research in less than three weeks – just by drinking tap water.

You would be hard-pressed to convince us now that water doesn’t have some sort of magical, life-affirming power.

And sure, we feel physically better after 20 days of drinking water. But the real satisfaction comes from knowing that we contributed to a great cause.

If you haven’t done so already, you can still keep the funding flowing here: bit.ly/TakeOnTwenty

Make sure to also follow EBBC on social media: twitter.com/BizBeatsCancer