I lost my Mum seven years ago. She had Alzheimer’s. She was a very smart woman and was always well-dressed. She did everything by the book and didn’t smoke or drink. She lived for her family but Alzheimer’s took everything away from her and us.
It was a long road until we got the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. It took hold of Mum very quickly, leaving us with a replacement which wasn’t really her.
I wish I’d known about the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline. It would have been so beneficial to have picked up the phone to explain what I was going through. I can remember Mum behaving like a child at points and then, within a blink of an eye, she’d have a near perfect conversation with someone in the shops. It’s very difficult to explain something like this to someone who has never experienced dementia.
I ended up losing myself during this time; I was on antidepressants, didn’t want to speak to anybody, I put on weight and my heart was racing all the time. I was feeling so down but then I had a lightbulb moment – that I needed to do something that I’d never done before.
Building up the distance…
I began to run, gradually increasing my distance. A friend asked me if I wanted to take part in the Great North Run. My husband joked that I was like Forrest Gump!
The amount of support I received from Dementia UK coming up to the run was amazing. There was a 12 week training programme with a training night at Gateshead Stadium where you got to meet other people running for the charity. You didn’t know these people but you felt as though you were part of one big team. There was even support when I started doubting myself just before the run but Dementia UK encouraged me to believe in myself.
The Great North Run went better than I could ever have imagined. I loved every single minute of it, especially the support from everyone who was cheering me on, including my beloved family. It was such an inspiring day and I will definitely do it again.
On top of the world!
The last part of the race was definitely the most challenging. The nearer I got to the finish line the longer the distance seemed to be as all my limbs were starting to ache. I thought it would never end!
However, I felt on top of the world when I crossed the line. I finished the race in 2:11:27 and raised £1,600. Nothing’s ever going to bring my Mum back but doing something like this allows you to work through your emotions. I will always run now. Mentally and physically, I‘m in a completely different place.
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