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Susie hewer avatar
Susie hewer

50th Birthday Challenge

Fundraising for Alzheimer's Research UK

120 %
£3,612.20
raised of £3,000 target
by 61 supporters
Donate
  • Celebrating the birthday of Susie Hewer, 04 Nov 2006

Alzheimer's Research UK

We fund world-class scientific research to defeat dementia

Story

In June 2007 I celebrated my 50th birthday.  Such a momentous occasion had to be marked in a special way so what else is a girl to do but run some marathons plus an ultra marathon of 52.4 miles!  The events I ran are the Draycote 35 mile race in February (completed in 7:36:40), the Steyning Stinger marathon in March (completed in 6:34:06), the London marathon in April (completed in 5:50:06), the SIS South Downs marathon on my birthday in June (completed in 5:50:34) and then the biggy, the Kent 50 mile challenge in July which is actually 52.4 miles (completed in 13 hours 20 minutes!) I've been recording my training on my blog at www.extremeknittingredhead.blogspot.com, so please go and take a look and follow my highs and lows. 

As I’ve run the London marathon twice already I decided to make it a bit more of a challenge this time.  With the help of the lovely people at www.laughinghens.com, who provided me with needles and yarn, I ‘extreme knitted’ my way round,   finishing a scarf and setting a Guinness World Record (tm) for "The Longest Scarf Knitted Whilst Running a Marathon"! My heartfelt thanks to Susan at www.knitonthenet.com who has kindly publicised my antics on her website and sponsored me as well.

Mad woman! I hear you cry.  That's as maybe, but having watched my poor dear mother taken away by dementia I cannot rest until I have raised more money for research into this dreadful disease.  Please read mum's story and you'll see why I feel compelled to do this:

In 1997 my mother, then aged 81, had a series of minor strokes.  Shortly after that we started to notice behavioural changes notably memory loss and confusion over everyday items.  We thought it was just old age finally catching up with her.  Then she started wandering and had violent mood swings.  Although she already lived with us it became obvious that she couldn't be left alone for long and so I left my job to care for her.  The next few years saw a gradual decline into the blackness that is 'vascular dementia'.  My normally placid mum became violent and aggressive.  She had psychotic incidents where she would see imaginary people (children hiding in her wardrobe, Russians sitting on the stairs, women stealing her clothes) and she would shout at them and sometimes throw things too.  She was so convincing that we used to go and check that there wasn't anyone there!  When my sister died mum did not know who Judy was or that she was her daughter.  There came a point when I suddenly realised she no longer knew that I was her daughter and this was a terrible time for me.  In the last 2 years that she lived with us, life for us all became almost unbearable as she needed 24 hour care - she couldn't be left alone at all because she would either wander off or hurt herself, she never slept for more than 30 minutes at a time during the night, she became incontinent and incapable of doing anything for herself.  Finally my husband and I realised that we could no longer provide her with the care that she needed and she went to live in Castlemaine where Harry and his team did a splendid job caring for her.  There she lived a zombified existence unaware of who she was, what she was or where she was.  It was heartbreaking.  She died in March 2005, the day after her 89th birthday.

Thank you for taking the time to read my page and I hope you'll dig deep and sponsor me to help find a way of beating this destructive disease.  Donating through this site is simple. fast and totally secure.  It is also the most efficient way to sponsor me: the Alzheimer's Research Trust will receive your money faster and, if you are a UK taxpayer, an extra 28% in tax will be added to your gift at no cost to you.

Many thanks for your support.

Photos

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  • A new Guinness World Record!

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