Fundraiser runs 1,000 miles for dementia research with the help of pet pooch

29 September 2017

A fundraiser from Telford is running 1,000 miles for the UK’s leading dementia research charity with the help of her dog.

Nicky and Jacob

Nicky Rothwell, 45, is taking part in Running Down Dementia, a virtual running campaign by Alzheimer’s Research UK, which encourages participants to run 100km and raise £100 while competing on virtual leaderboards online.

Nicky decided to take on the challenge after her 80-year-old father Ronald Hammond was diagnosed with dementia and autism.

She will be running alongside Jacob, her beloved Irish Red and White Setter, and the duo have already clocked up over 920 miles of their own 1,000-mile goal and raised over £700. They have already climbed Ben Nevis and aim to climb Mount Snowdon in the next few days.

Nicky, who works as a supply teacher, said:

“My father has recently been diagnosed with dementia. During discussions with many doctors and specialists, it was also apparent that the diagnosis of OCD as a child would now be diagnosed as autism. I love my father very much and I know how hard life has been for him throughout the years, so to be hit with dementia as well is just heartbreaking and I’m absolutely devastated. That is why I wanted to do something proactive to help beat the disease which is taking my father away from me.

“My father is not the only one I know who has been hit by dementia. I have also had to watch other family members and close friends lose their loved ones to this debilitating condition too. Because of this, I decided it was time to get off my backside and participate in raising money for Alzheimer’s Research UK, in order to help the fight against dementia.

“As my friends know, I already do a lot of running and walking with Jacob, so when I read about Running Down Dementia 2017 it was clear to me that I should turn my miles into money. It was also clear that I needed a greater challenge than 100km, so I set myself the goal of completing 1,000 miles by the end of October, and I’m hoping to run the majority of it. If I reach 1,000 miles before the end of October I’ll still keep going to the end of the month.

“At the moment I run up to eight miles (13km) twice a week with Jacob, so to run every day will be a big challenge for both of us. But we’re excited to complete the challenge together and appreciate all the support we’ve been given. I’m hoping to get a pound for every mile.”

Nicky and her family

Ronald, a retired book-keeper, is living with Nicky’s mum Phyllis at their home in Loughborough. To donate to Nicky’s fundraising page, go to https://runningdowndementia2017.everydayhero.com/uk/nicola-9   or https://runningdowndementia2017.everydayhero.com/uk/jacob-s-walkies

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

“We are so impressed with Nicky and Jacob’s running! We were thrilled to hear that not only are they tackling 1,000 miles for us, but they are nearing their target of raising the same number in pounds.

“Alzheimer’s Research UK’s goal is to end the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia by funding the most promising research into preventions and treatments for dementia. None of this would be possible without our dedicated supporters like Nicky. We can’t thank her enough, and hope she enjoys Running Down Dementia with Jacob this summer.”

Anyone wishing to sign themselves, or their dogs, up to Running Down Dementia, can go to www.runningdowndementia.org