Alzheimer’s at 39: Chris’ story
This is inspirational fundraiser Chris Graham. He’s 39 and has Alzheimer’s disease.
Chris was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2010 – a disease which claimed the lives of his dad, aunt, cousin and granddad in their forties. His 43-year-old brother is also living with this rare, inherited form of Alzheimer’s and is in a care home.
In April 2015, the father-of-three set off on a 16,000 mile cycle ride around North America to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Chris expected the cycle ride to take a year but completed it in just over eight months. Starting in Canada, Chris travelled solo for the majority of the trip and experienced extremes in temperature from sub-zero through to a blistering 125°F.
A message from Chris
“My whole focus this year has been on the ride and I hope the awareness and funds raised will help bring about a breakthrough that will give many more good years to other people with Alzheimer’s. Everyone has been so generous and the total so far of over £40,000 makes me very proud.
“It’s been tough being away from my family for so long – they’ve been an incredible support. My partner Vic has been ‘mission control’ at home, plotting my daily route and finding me places to stay. I couldn’t have done it without her. She’s got me out of a few scrapes along the way, especially when I cycled on to a motorway by mistake and became trapped with traffic speeding all around me. I really thought the game was up but Vic manoeuvred me out of it, even at such a distance, via the internet.
“I’ve been determined to get back home for Christmas and for my little boy Dexter’s first birthday in January. Having survived heatwaves, approaching hurricanes and torrential rain, I was anxious when I got delayed by snow blocking the roads, just 20 miles from finishing the cycle. But I made it and it was so worthwhile knowing it will help Alzheimer’s Research UK in the battle against this disease.”