Sarah Hunter from Morpeth will be put through her paces on 26 April when she runs the Virgin Money London Marathon for the first time, to raise £2,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK. Running among a crowd of over 37,500 competitors, Sarah will pound the capital’s streets alongside fun runners, amateur athletes, elite sportsmen and women as well as a host of celebrities. She will be cheered on by her family, including her three year old daughter Sasha and her stepfather Len, 65, who has Alzheimer’s disease.
Sarah, 38, who works as a dental hygienist, explained her motivation for running the iconic marathon for Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity:
“My fantastic stepfather Len has inspired me to run my first ever marathon and I can say hand on heart that I’m terrified but excited too. Len has been in my life for 30 years and introduced me to running in my late teens. Sadly, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease last year, something that has been creeping on since his early 60s. All the money I raise from the London Marathon will go to Alzheimer’s Research UK to help their scientists find the treatments so desperately needed to stop this devastating disease in its tracks.
“Len always enjoyed keeping fit and was a keen runner. In fact he completed the London Marathon in amazing time – just over two and half hours! Nowadays, although he’s still very mobile, he easily trips and bumps into things. He keeps asking if he can train with me and we ran two miles together recently, which was wonderful, but I had to have eyes in the back of my head to make sure he didn’t fall over. It’s heartbreaking seeing him struggle with everyday things like doing up his shirt buttons and cutting up his food, and become more and more confused as his memories fade. My mum [Lesley] has stopped working so she can be there for him.
“I won’t be speeding around the London Marathon course like Len used to but I want to make him proud when I cross that finishing line. It’s great knowing I’ll be raising much needed money for Alzheimer’s Research UK and giving hope to many other people like Len and their families.”
Claire Priestwood, Regional Fundraising Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“We can’t thank Sarah enough for taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK and we wish her every success. Every £20 she raises will pay for another hour of pioneering research, bringing us closer to finding the better forms of diagnosis, preventions and treatments so urgently needed for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
“There are 850,000 people across the UK living with dementia today, including nearly 5,000 people in Northumberland. Dementia poses one of the greatest threats to public health now and in the future but funding for research still lags significantly behind other serious diseases. We rely on our wonderful supporters like Sarah to be able to fund our vital research and together we can change the future. Research has the power to defeat dementia.”
To help Sarah raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK’s groundbreaking research, donate online at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SarahHunter26.2. 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