60-year-old Charity Champion to run 100 miles in 32 hours for dementia research
By Philip Tubby | Wednesday 28 February 2018
Susie Hewer has already run 144 marathons and 24 ultra-marathons, but the 60-year-old is not ready to slow down just yet. She is now planning to run 100 miles in 32 hours to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
The Robertsbridge woman is a Champion of Alzheimer’s Research UK and has already raised over £50,000 for dementia research in her 13 years supporting the charity.
Now she is taking on what might be her most extreme challenge yet as she prepares to run for 32 hours straight.
The Viking Challenge takes place on 10 and 11 March on Brook farm in Reculver, Kent, and will see those taking part racing to complete 100 miles within the 32-hour time limit.
Susie is running the distance to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK because her mum, Peggy, died from vascular dementia in 2005.
“People sometimes ask me why I’m still fundraising for Alzheimer’s Research UK and why I keep talking about dementia. The reason is that I can see we are starting to make a difference.
“I started to speak out about dementia because it was only ever spoken about in hushed tones, as if it was something shameful, and people didn’t fully understand just how awful the condition becomes.”
“I still feel that stigma hanging around us now, although a lot more people are speaking out about their experiences.”
The years in which her mother had vascular dementia were extremely difficult for Susie and her mum.
“It started with forgetfulness, and at first we just thought it was a normal part of ageing and didn’t think it was something to worry about.
“After a while, her condition got worse. She would walk into the lounge and she wouldn’t sit in her usual place because she said there was a lady sitting there. When she was told there wasn’t a lady sitting there, she would get more frustrated.
“In the final stages, she started to have mood swings and became violent and aggressive. It was truly awful.”
This is not the first time Susie has done something unusual for Alzheimer’s Research UK. She has previously set Guinness World Records for creating the longest scarf and crochet chain while running a marathon.
“People might think I’m crazy but having watched my dear mum gradually fade away with vascular dementia, I can’t rest until I have raised more money for research into this dreadful disease.”
“When compared with other illnesses, research is underfunded. We need to keep working hard to raise funds for dementia research so that one day, families can be spared from the pain it brings.”
To donate to Susie, you can visit her fundraising page: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/extremeknittingredhead
Those interested in reading more about Susie’s mum’s story can visit her blog: http://extremeknittingredhead.blogspot.co.uk
Georgi Welch, Regional Fundraising Officer for the South East at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“We are so grateful to Susie for taking on this amazing ch
allenge to raise funds for vital research into dementia.
“There are now over 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK. Despite this, there are still no treatments that can slow or prevent the development of dementia.
“Research is vital so that one day, other families will not have to go through the pain of losing a loved one to this condition.”