Hi, and welcome to the JustGiving page for Lilac to Ventoux. I plan to cycle up Mont Ventoux on 25 May 2011, to raise awareness of Alzheimer's disease and funds for Alzheimer's research. I am doing this in memory of my Grandfather, David Sommerville (1910-2003), and in honour of my favourite author, Sir Terry Pratchett.
Late in 2003, my grandfather, David Sommerville, passed away after a very long battle with Alzheimer's disease. Anyone who has experience of caring for someone with this terrible illness knows about the awful, inevitable deterioration that takes place. Grandpa was an alert, involved and interested man who loved his family, and who enjoyed being outdoors, whether for his daily walks (several miles), gardening or a round of golf. Born in Airdrie, Scotland in 1910, he lived during the course of his life in India (where he met my Grandmother, Constance, and where my Mum was born), Rhodesia/Zimbabwe (where I was born), and Australia. He and Granny had three children, who went on to give them nine grandchildren. He worked as a chartered accountant in the textile industry, served in the navy during WWII, and kept a daily journal for most of his life.
Grandpa battled Alzheimer's for more than a decade. By the end of his life, the disease had stripped him of his ability to communicate, to care for himself, and to engage with what was going on around him. To end one's life in this way is a fate I would not wish on anybody.
Naturally, I was very upset to read that Sir Terry Pratchett, my favourite author, had been diagnosed with a form of early-onset Alzheimer's disease.
I loiter on the fringes of Discworld fandom, which is by and large populated with very good-hearted people, so it wasn't much of a surprise when, following Sir Terry's donation of £500,000 to the Alzheimer's Research Trust, fans decided to 'Match it for Pratchett' - raising funds with the aim of matching his donation. Many fannish fundraising activities now take place on what is known as The Glorious 25th of May, an important date out of the book ‘Night Watch’ – hence the date for my own effort, Lilac to Ventoux.
For quite a while, I've wanted to ride up Mont Ventoux, one of the most challenging mountains to feature in the Tour de France. It's a pretty big challenge in itself, but to add a goal like raising Alzheimer's awareness makes taking on this challenge hugely more meaningful. Over the coming months, as I prepare for the ride, I’m hoping to learn a lot more about Alzheimer’s disease and the current state of the research, and I aim to pass this information on. I am also hoping to raise funds towards more research into Alzheimer’s. Your support in this would be very much appreciated.
Lilac to Ventoux is also on Twitter (@lilactoventoux), LiveJournal (http://lilactoventoux.livejournal.com/) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lilac-to-Ventoux/144791255542836).
Thank you for reading, and thank you for your support.
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