Cambridge scientist to take on gruelling challenge for Alzheimer’s Research UK
07 February 2017
A Cambridge scientist is taking on a number of gruelling races and triathlons to raise money for the UK’s leading dementia research charity, Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Steve Andrews will be taking part in the Cambridge Half Marathon in March, as well as notching up a further 100km by running a series of 5km parkruns throughout the year.
After taking up cycling in 2016 he’ll also be completing an ‘Olympic’ distance triathlon before doubling it to a ‘Half Ironman’ distance, which includes a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile cycle and 13 mile run.
Steve has felt passionate about dementia research ever since he lost his nan Simone Andrews to vascular dementia in 2007.
He works as Head of Chemistry at Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Drug Discovery Institute at the University of Cambridge, working on new mechanisms to clear the proteins which build up in the brain and cause dementia.
The Institute is part of the wider Drug Discovery Alliance, funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK, which also includes centres at the University of Oxford and University College London.
The coordinated effort aims to streamline drug discovery and translate promising research into potential treatments.
“In the UK, 850,000 people are living with dementia but this terrible condition also affects the lives of so many loved ones. Most of us have experienced this first hand or know someone who has been affected.
“I experienced this for the first time as an adolescent watching my beloved grandmother succumb to vascular dementia. I vividly remember how devastated I was the first time that Nan forgot who I was.
“One day after I rang her doorbell she greeted me with an expression of failed recognition. She then looked across to my dad, her son, as he walked over from parking the car, smiled and said hello to him, but still took some time to realise who I was. Nan progressively lost more of her memory, her cognitive function and her independence. It wasn’t long before she required full time care.
“I joined Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Cambridge Drug Discovery Institute as a researcher in 2016. Our mission is to find new treatments for all dementias. Dementia is not a natural part of ageing but is caused by diseases which ‘eat away’ at the brain until it can’t function properly.
“In the UK, dementia research barely receives one sixth of the funding that cancer research receives and this needs to change. These diseases are potentially treatable but much more research is desperately needed.”
Steve is currently training by running regularly, swimming once a week and cycling on an indoor bike.
He is planning to take on Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Guatemala Volcano Trek in 2018 – a challenge which sees participants hike up five volcanos in aid of dementia research.
Jessica Sayer, Regional Fundraising Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“We want to say a big thank you to Steve for supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK and taking on so many challenges for vital dementia research.
“When 47 million people around the world are living with dementia, it’s important we do everything we can to find an effective treatment.
“The Drug Discovery Alliance is just one of the many ways that Alzheimer’s Research UK is fighting against dementia – we’re currently supporting a network of over 1,000 dementia researchers across the country.”
Steve has so far raised over £500, to sponsor him go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/arukchallenges
Anyone wishing to join Team ARUK in the Guatemala trek can visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/event/guatemala-volcano-trek/