Busy mum smashes 100km for dementia research in memory of her dad

Posted on 11th August 2016

A mother-of-two from Maghull has run 100km in six weeks to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK, after losing her dad to dementia two years ago.

Jo Ball recently completed Running Down Dementia, an initiative organised by Alzheimer’s Research UK and parkun, which challenges participants to run 100km over the summer and raise at least £100 for the charity.

Jo Ball
Jo Ball

 

The 40-year-old finished the challenge much quicker than she expected, despite only taking up running last year. She’s raised over £600 for dementia research. She said:

“It can be hard to find time to run as a full-time working mum, but I’ve really enjoyed it. I feel so good after I’ve been out – running is a great stress-reliever. My family have all been very supportive – my husband Neil and our two girls, Libby and Darcey-Ann, who are seven and nine. Darcey-Ann is my running buddy and often rides alongside me on her bike.”

Jo wanted to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK after losing her dad, Joe Ryan, to dementia with Lewy bodies in 2014, aged 78. This is a form of dementia that can cause mobility problems and visual disturbances, as well as the typical memory problems and confusion usually associated with dementia. Around 100,000 people have dementia with Lewy bodies in the UK.

Joe Ryan

After Joe was diagnosed in 2010, the family struggled to know what to do. Jo, who works as a fashion buyer, said:

“We felt useless when we heard Dad’s diagnosis. There wasn’t much we could do, except be there for him and care for him. We felt like things were completely out of our hands. I was shocked as well to see how little is known about dementia, especially dementia with Lewy bodies. Even the GP was unfamiliar with it. This is why I want to raise money for dementia research.”

Joe was a loving husband, dad and grandad. He was cared for by his wife, Ann, with the help of their children, Jo and Stephen, and their respective partners Neil and Julie, for as long as possible.

He moved into a care home for the last year of his life, where he could receive the 24-hour care he required. By this point, he had lost all mobility and experienced vivid hallucinations. Jo said:

“Before he retired, Dad was a specifier for Otis Elevators. He was not only very clever, but also a very calm and gentle man, and had a real love of music. In fact he was treasurer of the Maghull Folk Club for over 20 years. Dementia changed his behaviour completely and the man we knew slowly vanished before our eyes.”

Alzheimer’s Research UK is the UK’s leading dementia research charity, powering studies into prevention, diagnosis and treatments for all forms of dementia.

Kenneth Foreman, Sporting Events Manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“There are around 47 million people across the world living with dementia and yet there’s no cure or treatment to stop or slow the condition’s progress.

“At Alzheimer’s Research UK, we’re working towards a future without the heartbreak of dementia, and that wouldn’t be possible without amazing fundraisers like Jo. We want to say a big thank you to Jo, who’s currently in our top 25 fundraisers for Running Down Dementia out of more than 3,000 participants.”

To sign up to Running Down Dementia, visit http://www.runningdowndementia.org

To support Jo, go to https://running-down-dementia.everydayhero.com/uk/joanne-5

For more 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

Posted in Fundraising news