Well, I'm at it again! Who was it said that you should take it easy when you reach your 50s? I've decided it doesn't apply to me anyway and I shall again be running a series of marathons to help raise awareness of the effects of dementia and hopefully to raise more money for the Alzheimer's Research Trust who do amazing work to try and understand how to prevent and treat all forms of dementia.
It is a cause very dear to me as 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.
Since I started running in 2002 I have run many races but I only started running marathons in 2005 when I ran my first London marathon in aid of the Alzheimer's Research Trust. So far I have completed 15 marathons (that's 13 marathons of 26.2 miles plus 2 ultra marathons of 35 and 52.4 miles respectively).
The marathons I'll be doing this year are the Steyning Stinger in March (completed in 5:38, shaving 57 minutes off my time last year!), London Marathon in April (my 13th marathon, on the 13th April, where I beat my own Guinness World Record for the 'Longest Scarf Knitted Whilst Running a Marathon'!), Three Forts in May (a very hot run across the South Downs, slowed down by a groin strain but completed in 6:25), Beachy Head in October (completed in 6:15 which is 5 minutes slower than last year!) and Hastings 100th Anniversary Marathon in December - 5 in total. Take a look at my blog at www.extremeknittingredhead.blogspot.com to see how my training's going.
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.
Susie hewer's Fundraising Page
Fundraising for Alzheimer's Research UK
We fund world-class scientific research to defeat dementia