Liverpool graduate takes on 100km running challenge in memory of mum

21 August 2018

Languages graduate Will Grant is aiming to run 100km this month to raise vital funds for dementia research in memory of his mum, who had a rare form of dementia.

Will Grant with his twin brother Ed

Will Grant with his twin brother Ed

Will, who took Hispanic Studies at the University of Liverpool, was inspired to sign up for Alzheimer’s Research UK’s summer campaign, Running Down Dementia, as his mum, Liza, had frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

FTD is caused by damage to cells in parts of the brain known as the frontal and temporal lobes. It causes distressing symptoms including personality and behavioural changes, a lack of empathy, and problems with communication and thinking.

Liza was diagnosed with the disease in 2011, aged 53, when Will was just 17 and taking his A levels, but had been showing symptoms for a number of years before her diagnosis. She sadly passed away in late 2016 at the age of 58.

Will, who has a twin brother called Ed, said:

Liza Grant

Liza Grant

“Mum was always off the wall and eccentric, but I remember her behaviour changed at least a year or two before her diagnosis. She used to get really angry about stuff. If she was driving long distance and the traffic lights would change she’d get really frustrated.

“When she was diagnosed with FTD it made sense as the symptoms of the disease are mainly behavioural and that was what we were seeing in Mum. A lot of people think of an elderly person when they talk about dementia, but it doesn’t just affect older people, it affects younger people too.”

The 24-year-old sales agent is determined to do all he can to raise awareness and funds for dementia research to ensure other families don’t go through what his has been through.

He said:

“I signed up to Running Down Dementia because I want some good to have come out of my situation. It was horrible so I want to do all I can to help future generations to avoid going through something similar.”

Will with his twin brother Ed Mum Liza and Dad Philip

Will with his twin brother Ed Mum Liza and Dad Philip

Will added that his mum was a keen walker and had also run the London Marathon so taking on a running challenge was the perfect way to raise money for dementia research in her memory.

He has so far clocked up 27kms and although he wasn’t a runner before taking on the challenge he is determined to get across the finish line by the end of the month.

He is joined by more than 4,800 other runners who are all taking part or have already completed the challenge this summer. Collectively they have so far run more than 392,000 kilometres and raised more than £292,000 for life-changing dementia research.

Julia Sobik, Senior Sporting Events & Partnerships Manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“Although Will’s mum had a rare form of dementia, it is sadly not uncommon for dementia and the diseases that cause it to have such a devastating impact on families.

“However, campaigns like Running Down Dementia allow people like Will to fight back, power world-class dementia research projects and help bring an end to the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia. We already know it has been a record-breaking year for the campaign for both fundraising and distance covered, and this is all down to incredible people like Will.

“We are looking forward to cheering Will and thousands of other amazing runners across the ‘finish line’ later this month when they complete the challenge.”

To sponsor Will visit: https://runningdowndementia2018.everydayhero.com/uk/will-4

For further information about Alzheimer’s Research UK visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org