Five Slimming World members get set to run the London Marathon in aid of dementia research
By Quang Tran | Sunday 31 December 2023
Since our partnership with Slimming World began in 2022, five members have signed up to run the London Marathon in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK. Tarryn, Jen, Tina, Jim, and Emma have shared their inspiring stories with us, touching on the people who inspire them to run 26 miles and raise £2,500 for dementia research.
Jennifer, a nurse from Cumbria, decided to run the marathon in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK after seeing the effects of dementia at home and at work.
“I watched the marathon in October 2022, so when I noticed Slimming World looking for runners to join in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK, I jumped at the chance.
“As a nurse, I often care for people with dementia and as a result I’ve seen all too well the ripple effect it has on loved ones. Sadly, dementia has had a huge impact on my family with both my grandmother’s and grandfather’s diagnosis. My grandmother, Mary, died with Alzheimer’s in March 2020 and my grandad, David, is currently living with vascular dementia. They’re two very different types of diseases and have affected them in different ways. It’s devastating because the person we all know and love can appear to be with us physically, but we know they’re not the same.
“I don’t think my grandparents would have been shocked to hear that I’m running the London Marathon, but I know they’re proud of me. I’m someone who, when I put my mind to something, I do it. Before putting on weight, I was previously active and loved playing netball and running half marathons.
“Since joining Slimming World, as well as changing my eating habits, I’ve slowly built my activity levels back up and fallen in love with it again. I spent last summer fell walking, climbing in the lakes and doing activities with the family like swimming and paddle boarding. By setting sensible, achievable targets to work towards, I’ve rebuilt my confidence.
“It’s an honour to run in the London Marathon in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK and I hope to inspire others as they have me. I also want to show my girls that you can achieve anything you put your mind to! My wish for dementia is to ultimately, find a cure. But I’d also like to an improvement in our general understanding of dementia, as well as better support for the families and carers who have to step in to help.”
If you would like to donate through Jennifer’s fundraising page, visit: Jennifer Forster is fundraising for SMILES (justgiving.com)
Tina, a Slimming World Team Developer from Coventry, is running the London Marathon to inspire her children and help put a stop to dementia, having seen the impact if had on her wonderful nan.
“The London Marathon is something I’ve always watched and admired, and now I can’t believe I will be taking part in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK. Sadly, I’ve seen how cruel dementia is first-hand. My incredible 95-year-old nan, Betty, has dementia and has recently moved into a home because of it. She’s a mom to three sons and set up her own successful staff agency at 40. Although she no longer recognises me and her personality has changed since her diagnosis, her drive and success in life continues to inspire me every day.
“I gained weight after I left school and stopped playing sports due to dislocating my kneecap and failing a fitness test. I used to live on sugary breakfasts, takeaways, and chocolate and I continued to gain weight over time, reaching my heaviest after having my first daughter aged 21.
“Nowadays, I love to cook from scratch and enjoy homemade meals. My love of exercise all started with the ‘Couch to 5k’ app after hearing about it from other members. I started slowly and steadily built up my ability until I was training six days a week! I’ve now completed two sprint triathlons, an Olympic triathlon, and my first half marathon! I realised the key is finding an activity you enjoy – then it doesn’t feel like a chore. I can’t wait to get my trainers on these days. It’s been brilliant for my mental health too.”
If you would like to donate through Tina’s fundraising page, visit: Tina Bishop is fundraising for SMILES (justgiving.com)
Jim switched to a healthier lifestyle with after realising he made excuses to get out of playing sports with his children.
“I’ve been lucky enough not to experience dementia within my immediate family. I think I was quite naive to it all but since starting this challenge, I’ve really seen how much dementia impacts the people within our communities.
“I think most people think of a mid-life crisis as buying sports cars or wearing loud shirts, but for me, it was improving my health. I had awful back pain and often made excuses not to get out and play sports with my children. I remember my wife saying to me, ‘you’re a great dad but your kids will grow up in the blink of an eye and you’ll wish you did more with them’.
“So last year I started to make healthier lifestyle choices. I joined my local Slimming World group and they’ve been a brilliant support – they always have faith in my ability, even when I don’t! My wife’s delighted as I’ve started to share more of the cooking responsibility with all the healthy takeaway (or ‘fakeaway’) style meals I’ve picked up.
“Before I joined the group, my activity level was non-existent. I accidentally found a love for running on holiday in Crete as my sister-in-law was training for a half marathon and needed motivation. So, I offered to run with her and loved it!
“Now over four stone lighter and physically active, I’m able to keep up with the kids and play football with them in the garden. I can’t believe I’ve gone from not being able to play with them to becoming an inspiration by running the London Marathon. It feels great to set an example to them that you can do anything you put your mind to, as well as raising money for a good cause.”
If you would like to help Jim reach his fundraising target, visit: Jim Poberezniuk is fundraising for SMILES (justgiving.com)
Emma, a Slimming World District Manager from Bradwell, started her running journey by running from one lamppost to the next. Emma hopes to inspire others to fundraise for Alzheimer’s Research UK, a cause close to her heart.
“Being on Slimming World’s London Marathon team is perfect for me as I can inspire others and raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK, a charity close to my heart. My aunty cared for my grandad before having to make the hardest decision to sell his home to afford 24-hour care in a home. It was incredibly difficult to see him change with each visit. Sadly, he died with dementia in 2003.
“While I was always active as a child and was in the Royal Navy previously, I’ve struggled with my weight for most of my life. When I was at my heaviest, I struggled to play at the park with my kids and jobs around the house became difficult as I became breathless easily.
“I remember reading a Slimming World Magazine where a member started by running from one lamppost to the next, so I thought I’d start my running journey by giving this a try. It was the perfect way to build up, bit by bit, at my own pace. I’ve now completed Race for Life, 10ks and half marathons. I’ve even joined a running club.
“Motivation can be difficult as I’m no runner, but the pain I go through every time I run is nothing like the pain experienced by families who love someone with dementia.”
If you would like to help Emma reach her fundraising target, visit: Emma Lea is fundraising for SMILES (justgiving.com)
Tarryn, from Wellingborough, switched to a healthier lifestyle in 2018. Since then, she’s embraced a balanced diet and stepped up her activity with running and hula-hooping!
“I decided to run in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK as I’ve seen how awful dementia is. Sadly, my grandma’s sister, Joan, was once a very independent lady but now lives in a home because of her condition.
“I joined Slimming World in January 2018 after deciding that enough was enough with the way I felt about myself. I wasn’t very active before losing weight and leisurely Sunday walks were the extent of my exercise regime! I decided to embrace their activity support programme and since then I’ve tried lots of fun and new ways to get my body moving, like using a weighted hula hoop for ten minutes a day. I’ve found if I’m enjoying exercise, it’s much easier to keep it up. As my confidence has grown and I’ve found a love of exercise, I’ve taken up running and completed two half-marathons. Now I’m all set for the big one!
“It’s an honour to join this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to raise much-needed funds for a worthy cause.”
If you would like to help Tarryn reach her fundraising target, visit: Tarryn Mote is fundraising for SMILES (justgiving.com)
If you would like to donate to the whole Slimming World team, visit: Slimming World London Marathon Team 2023 – JustGiving