Alzheimer’s at 39: Chris’ story
Alzheimer’s Research UK Champion Chris was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2010 at the age of just 34.
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 45-year-old brother is also living with this rare, inherited form of Alzheimer’s and is in a care home.
Chris, who served in the army for 23 years before his diagnosis, carries a rare familial Alzheimer’s gene. This means his three children each have a 50 per cent chance of inheriting the disease too.
“We have a two-year-old son and we want to watch him grow up together like so many other parents do. The only way to stop a fourth generation of our family being hit with this is to raise money for research that will lead to a successful treatment.”
Vicky Graham, Chris’ wife.
In 2015, Chris undertook a 16,000-mile bike ride around the coast of Canada and America to raise awareness of dementia, with incredible public support helping him raise more than £50,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK. He went on to win a Pride of Sport award for his heroic efforts and was made a Champion of Alzheimer’s Research UK in recognition of his incredible fundraising efforts.
Chris got back on his bike during Dementia Awareness Week 2017(15 May – 21 May) to cycle the length of Great Britain solo while also flying the flag for dementia research.
A message from Chris
“I like having something to work towards and I had been considering doing this for a while. It was also the perfect way for me to get fit and encourage people to talk about Alzheimer’s disease again, whether they know me or just see me during the ride.”
“I want to raise awareness of dementia to help reduce the stigma around the condition and to raise money for research so future generations don’t have to go through what my family has been through.”
Chris, who has been reunited with his trusty bike Shirley for this journey, said: “It gives me a sense of purpose, keeps me fit and gets me out from under Vick’s feet! My motto is ‘if in doubt pedal some more!
“I want to raise as much as I can from this cycle ride – I want to make a difference to dementia research while I still can.”