Around 40 people, including Roy Davies’ sons Martin and Hugh, daughters Hilary and Meryl and seven grandchildren, will all be running a parkrun in his honour to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Roy, who spent the majority of his working life as a Church of England vicar in south Shropshire, has dementia with Lewy bodies and now lives in the Stretton Nursing Home in Burghill, Herefordshire. A member of staff at the care home will push the 83-year-old around the grounds in a wheelchair so he can also take part in the “Run for Roy” event.
Family and friends will be running at Montacute House in Dorset, Lloyd Park in Croydon, Oxford, Cambridge, Maidenhead, Crystal Palace, Hampstead Heath and Greenwich, as well as Coffs Harbour and Curl Curl in Australia and Mannheim in Germany.
Martin said: “In his rural parishes dad spent a great deal of time visiting the elderly and sick, offering them compassion, company and spiritual expression. So now we want to Run for Roy to let him know we are thinking of him and also raise some money for Alzheimer’s Research UK in his honour.”
Dementia with Lewy bodies is the third most common form of dementia. The disease can cause common dementia symptoms including memory loss and spatial awareness problems, but also has more specific symptoms, such as fluctuations in alertness and attention, hallucinations, Parkinson’s disease-type movement problems and sleep disturbances.
The extent of Roy’s deterioration with the disease became apparent following his wife Hannah’s death two years ago. Roy, who also has 80 per cent hearing loss, struggled to live independently.
“My mum was his carer, she was his lifeline. His attempt to live independently quickly unmasked the symptoms of confusion, anxiety and hallucinations which are consistent with dementia with Lewy bodies. Thankfully after six months in hospital he was then given a place in a care home where he’s settled and is a lot less agitated.
“A lot of people ask ‘will he recognise me?’ but I find it a very disheartening question. Not only will he remember you, he will be able to go through photos from your collective past and recall the names of people you might well have long forgotten.
“Dementia takes many forms and in his case it is robbing him of the certainty of where he is, of the passing of time and on bad days can make him feel despondent and suffer from hallucinations. But his face lights up when he sees his grandchildren, children and friends, recalling their names and asking them how they are getting on.
“He is still fastidious about his appearance and concerned that all of his visitors are offered tea and a bite to eat.”
To make a donation towards the Run for Roy fundraiser go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/run-for-roydavies
Kenneth Foreman, Sporting Events Manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“Alzheimer’s Research UK is proud to be the official charity partner of parkrun, so we are delighted that Roy’s family and friends are raising money for us by running at several parkruns.
“Run for Roy is a great idea. As well as raising vital funds which will power world-class dementia research projects, it’s a fantastic way for a family to show their support for their loved one who is living with dementia.”
For further information about Alzheimer’s Research UK, or to find out more about fundraising for the charity, call 0300 111 5555 or visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org