Dementia Helpline0800 888 6678

Matthew's story: "It’s meant a lot to my mum that we can give something back"

Matthew Lawrence and his brothers raised over £29k for us at the London Marathon – they all ran for their dad who has dementia, with Matthew being the third brother in as many years to participate.

The Lawrence brothers

The Lawrence brothers

My older brother got a place with Dementia UK in the 2017 London Marathon and raised a lot of money. My younger brother did the same in 2018 so I thought it was my turn.

Dad was diagnosed with dementia with Lewy bodies three years ago, so we wanted to run for a charity that’s very close to us. It’s meant a lot to my mum that we can do our bit as brothers and sons, to give something back.

My mum’s a full-time carer for dad now which makes things particularly tough for her. I give up my Saturdays to look after him to give my mum some time off. Dad’s not really the same person anymore; he still recognises us but there are moments when he gets my name wrong. I try not to think about how it affects me – I just try to be there to support my mum.

Some people may think it’s unusual but before my first-ever marathon, I didn’t do a lot of running. I did a 10k once, but that was a long time ago. I gave up playing football through injury and I can’t do a lot of things anymore, but training for the London Marathon allowed me to rediscover my competitive spirit.

Dementia UK was fantastic in supporting me. The fundraising team was in touch a lot and checking to see if I was ok in advance of the race. There was lots of guidance on training and trying to fit it around your life.

I couldn’t believe that I finished the marathon in 3 hours and 38 minutes. It was a complete mental battle but very rewarding. There were so many things which helped me get through it all; the crowds cheering everyone on, and the very impressive vocal acrobatics at the Dementia UK cheer point! I loved seeing all of the other Dementia UK runners, and best of all, I was able to raise £9,000 from friends, family and colleagues. The post-marathon reception which Dementia UK put on was great too. It was lovely to chat to staff and to get their masseuse to knead those aching muscles.

And as for which of the Lawrence brothers got the best time… well, I think we’ll keep that within the family!