Helen Barnes – London Marathon
I was always close to my dad; he was so supportive of everything I did. Being very sporty himself, he inspired me to go on to do my best. He was so friendly; a popular guy that always had a smile on his face. I remember him climbing through the crowd to hug me after I set a new world record for canoeing, back in 2014 – a year before he was diagnosed with dementia. My dad will be 80 the week of the Marathon. He started canoeing when I did and went on to coach me and drive me all over the world for my sport.
Dad is sadly in the later stages of dementia now… it’s heart-breaking to see. I wanted to do something positive, something for him while raising money for a brilliant cause. My dad has missed out on so much through having dementia. He has grandchildren whom he adores, but is no longer able to really interact with them. All his hobbies, such as singing with the choir, walking and gardening, he has had to give up and now needs full time care. I speak to him every day and tell him how much I love him – he is always in my thoughts.
I’m running this year’s Marathon as the CBBC character Mister Maker, who my two sons are obsessed with, as I’m attempting to set the Guinness World Record for the fastest ever marathon dressed as a children’s TV character. I’m even getting to wear his famous spotty waist coat! My friends and family think I’m crazy! But I know they’re right behind me.
Darren Pattison – Brighton Marathon
This is my first Marathon and first fitness activity for 20 years. I may have jumped in feet first but as a result I’ve lost weight, implemented a fitness regime that I feel I will continue and I’m on track to hopefully complete the Brighton Marathon in April. I’m a Hearing Aid Audiologist by profession; I service my customer’s hearing aids in their homes. I see a variety of people and a lot of those are vulnerable and elderly. I’ve seen both first and second hand the devastating affects dementia can have on people and their family members.
Dementia UK is a charity that spoke to my heart and I’m humbled to help their good work.
Jenn Fisher – London Marathon
I began running in January 2013, doing a ‘couch to 5k’ programme. Little did I know that five years later I would be preparing to run the London Marathon!
I coach two community running groups. Our motto is “if you can’t talk, you’re running too fast!” I’ve run a few races, but the London Marathon is the hardest challenge of them all – but one I’m determined to complete.
My nanna was diagnosed with vascular dementia several years ago, and I’ve experienced the effects of losing a loved one slowly through the progression of this cruel condition. I’m sure that had we known about Admiral Nurses sooner, they could have been very beneficial to our family.
This will be my first time running for Dementia UK and I have been overwhelmed with the support they have provided me during my training. I had hoped to show Nanna my medal but unfortunately, she passed away in February. This has made me more determined than ever – I hope to make my family and of course my Nanna proud on the day.
Helen Attwood – London Marathon & Abi Rudge – Brighton Marathon
The Brighton and London Marathons are now getting very real for my friend Abi and me. How did we find ourselves in this position? ‘Friends’ have a lot to answer for! Victoria, a Senior Consultant Admiral Nurse with Dementia UK, helped me make the choice to run and raise funds to support people affected by dementia, a cause close to my heart. Once the ball started rolling I persuaded Abbi to run the Brighton Marathon as well for Dementia UK, and so our journey of training and fundraising began!
The journey has been hard work, the support and generosity of friends and family overwhelming. Fundraising has been such a great experience for the marathon, with the highlight being the huge auction night we hosted.
Jon Ward – Brighton Marathon
My grandad was diagnosed a year ago with Lewy Body Dementia, and we have witnessed the harsh deterioration of his mind and body. It is a distressing situation when visiting my grandad, not knowing whether he is going to recognise or remember me.
Dementia UK’s training day in January was a fantastic opportunity to meet fellow runners and to gain a insight into the race day. I take great pride in the knowledge that my fundraising can help provide an Admiral Nurse for families affected by dementia.