Endurance athlete takes on 17 marathons in 17 days for dementia research

14 February 2022

Louis Alexander will run 17 marathons in 17 days to raise thousands of pounds for Alzheimer’s Research UK marking the 17 years his grandfather lived with dementia.

The 22-year-old, who hopes to raise £17,000, is no stranger to an endurance feat, having taken on a trek up Mount Kilimanjaro, completed 20 challenges in 2020, and ran a 100km ultra-marathon last year. However, Louis thinks this will be his toughest challenge to date.

His fundraising challenges have all been in honour of his grandfather, Captain Rick Taylor, who was only 58 years old when he was diagnosed with dementia with Lewy bodies. He was an explorer and adventurer who served all around the world during his 38 years in the British Army, fighting against some of the most dangerous forces.

Louis, who lives in West London, said:

“My Grandad is one of my true heroes, as both a family man and an adventurer. At his funeral, I made the promise to my family to support Alzheimer’s Research UK with one event every year until the day we find a cure and no family has to suffer from this cruel illness. I will not break that promise.

“During this challenge, I will cover more than 445 miles in 17 different locations across the country including cities where Alzheimer’s Research UK’s scientists are based. I am looking forward to talking to a number of scientists and even running with one of them throughout my challenge.”

He will set off from Chatsworth Grange Nursing Home in Sheffield on February 16. The location is a poignant one as it is where his grandfather spent the last few years of his life. Louis will be waved off by staff from the nursing home as well as Dr Ryan West from the University of Sheffield who receives Alzheimer’s Research UK funding for his dementia research.

Dr West said:

“My work would not be possible without the fundraising efforts of supporters like Louis, so I am really pleased to be meeting him and sharing the progress we are making in our bid to understand dementia and identify new areas of focus for treatments for the condition.”

Louis’s late grandfather is not the only explorer spurring him on. He has public support from world-renowned explorers and endurance athletes who know what it is like to push their bodies to the limit, including Sir Chris Bonington, Robert Swan OBE and Ash Dykes.

Lucy Haines, Alzheimer’s Research UK Fundraising Officer, said:

“We are delighted to see Louis taking on his latest fundraising challenge to raise vital funds for dementia research in memory of his grandfather. 17 marathons in 17 days won’t be easy but we are behind Louis every step of the way and are so grateful for his continued support.

“It will be great for Louis to meet some of our researchers, like Dr Ryan West, and see where the money raised by our amazing fundraisers goes.

“Our supporters are helping us in our mission to make breakthroughs possible for people with dementia that will keep them connected to their families, their worlds, and themselves for longer.”

There are almost 1 million people in the UK living with a form of dementia.

Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) affects around 10 to 15 people out of every 100 who have a form of dementia. In DLB, the nerve cells that are affected are in areas of the brain that control thinking, memory, and body movement.

For more information on DLB visit: What is Dementia with Lewy bodies? | Alzheimer’s Research UK (alzheimersresearchuk.org)

To sponsor Louis, visit www.justgiving.com/17marathons17days and to follow his progress visit his Instagram account: @louisalexanderultra

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