On the 28 April 2019, which happens to be my 56th birthday, I will run the Virgin Money London Marathon in support of the Dementia Revolution.
I’m under no illusion about how hard it’s going to be, given that at the moment I can barely run to the end of the road and back, but I’m looking forward to it.
The reason I’m taking part is because I believe the Dementia Revolution can make a real difference to individuals and families affected by dementia, now and in the future. Not only is this an opportunity to raise millions of pounds to fund groundbreaking research, but it’s an opportunity to get people talking about dementia.
Barbara and I were overwhelmed by the reaction when we went public with her diagnosis back in May – all the kind words and messages of support. Since then, I’ve spoken to lots of different people about dementia, from family and close friends to taxi drivers and people we meet while we’re out and about. I’ve realised that so many people are going through, or have gone through, the same thing with a loved one. So why is it that before Barbara was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s I had never really talked about dementia and knew very little about it? It’s time we had a proper conversation about this condition.
I’m often asked how life has changed over the last few years as Barbara’s symptoms have progressed. Of course there have been various changes in Barbara and her personality, and I can’t say it’s not challenging because it is. But we still have fun and laugh together whenever we can.
We’ve recently had a stairlift fitted in the house, which I knew would be tough for Barbara as it’s another knock to her independence. At first she didn’t like it which I totally understood, but now we try and have a bit of fun with it. Every time she sits on it, we do this routine where I turn into a 1970s fairground attendant and say something like ‘Hold tight, hold tight please, single riders only!’ or ‘please sit still until the ride stops’ in a half American twang - she loves it!
We enjoy these moments so much, but I know that Barbara’s symptoms will continue to get worse. I’m incredibly sad that there’s no cure for dementia and I often feel powerless, so I try to focus on the things we can do, including using our experiences to help raise awareness of this cruel condition.
As anyone who has seen Barbara’s video message will know, she has been completely supportive of the Dementia Revolution, though I admit she was shocked at the thought of me running 26 miles!
I know it’s going to be tough but I’ll jog, walk, even crawl if I need to - as long as I get across that finish line that’s all that matters.
And if I can do it, so can you. If you’ve been lucky enough to get a place in the ballot, whether you’re a seasoned marathon runner or a first-timer, please join me and run for the Dementia Revolution.
Together we will make a stand against dementia.
Join the Revolution
You don't have to run the London Marathon to be part of the Revolution.
By making a donation you will help power groundbreaking research at the UK Dementia Research Institute.