Viv sheds 21lb to run London Marathon in a dress for Alzheimer’s Research UK

Dedicated Medway fundraiser Vivienne Hill is running this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon in a floor-length ball gown to boost funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Posted on 19th March 2014

Dedicated Medway fundraiser Vivienne Hill will run next month’s Virgin Money London Marathon in a floor-length ball gown to boost funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK. The sentimental dress was made by the Chatham Maritime resident’s mother, Mary, who died in 2010 after a long struggle with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Vivienne, 49, had to shed one-and-a-half stone to fit into the gown and started her weight-loss challenge shortly after signing up for the 26.2-mile race across the capital last year. She hopes to raise over £2,000 for the UK’s leading dementia research charity in her mother’s memory.

Vivienne, a Champion of Alzheimer’s Research UK, talked about her motivation for taking part in the marathon, wearing a dress while running it, and supporting the dementia research experts:

“I wanted to do something big this year to commemorate my upcoming 50th birthday and when this guy at work suggested doing the London Marathon it all seemed to click into place as it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. To make it even more special I’m doing it for Alzheimer’s Research UK in memory of my mum so she will be part of my 50th birthday year.

“Mum was only 61 when she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. She was a marvellous dressmaker and a fantastic cook. But little by little she struggled to sew a hem and couldn’t remember the ingredients for her lovely cakes. The dress I’ll be wearing is one she made for the Rochester Dickens Festival. Mum and Dad used to love going to them and taking part in the processions. The fact I’ll be wearing one of her dresses makes me feel she will be with me every step of the way – priceless.

“Mum had this terrible disease for the last eight years of her life and my family and I had to watch her slowly deteriorate from a happy, vibrant person to someone who was bedridden and couldn’t do a thing for herself. The hardest part for my family was that she didn’t recognise us and couldn’t even speak. It’s too late for her but I pray it’s not too late for others. That’s why I’m supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK.”

Jodie Vaughan, Community Fundraising Manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“Vivienne is an incredible campaigner and fundraiser for Alzheimer’s Research UK. Over the years she’s worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the urgent need for more investment into research for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. We wish her every success during this year’s race – especially as she’ll be wearing a beautiful dress made by her mother. Last year our fantastic Virgin Money London Marathon runners raised an incredible £113,500, enough to fund almost four complete pilot projects.

“Every £20 Vivienne raises is enough to fund another hour of pioneering research, bringing us closer to finding ways to diagnose, prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. There are hundreds of thousands of people across the UK living with dementia today, including over 17,000 people in Kent – one of the highest county figures. Dementia poses one of the greatest threats to public health now and in the future. Research is the only answer but funding still lags far behind other serious diseases. We rely on wonderful supporters like Vivienne to fund our world-class research.”

To help Vivienne raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK’s groundbreaking dementia research, donate online at For further information about Alzheimer’s Research UK or to find out more about fundraising for the charity, call 0300 111 5555 or visit

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