Runner takes on charity challenge for old friend with early-onset Alzheimer’s

Posted on 25th October 2016

A keen runner from Cupar has run over 265km to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK, after seeing a close friend diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Carolyn Haddow
Carolyn Haddow

Carolyn Haddow, 53, is taking part in Running Down Dementia, an initiative organised by Alzheimer’s Research UK and parkrun, which challenges participants to run 100km in their own time and raise £100 for the charity.

 

Wanting to do something a little different, Carolyn decided to run all 100km over 10 days and hasn’t stopped since. She has been racking up the kilometres for nearly two months now and has raised nearly £2,000 for the UK’s leading dementia research charity.

Carolyn was inspired to take on Running Down Dementia after her friend Euan Drummond was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s at just 54. She met Euan when she was 17 and he came as a student to work on her father’s farm. They have been firm friends ever since.

Now 56, Euan is cared for by his wife Hannah, with the help of his sisters and his two daughters, Poppy, 26, and Freya, 22. The couple also have a one-year-old son called Archie. Euan worked as a business development manager but had to give up work when he became ill. Hannah has also had to take long-term leave from work to care for him, and Freya has moved back home with them in Cupar.

Freya, who is Carolyn’s goddaughter, said:

“Dad was always the life and soul of the party. He was quick-witted and loved having lots of people around. When his symptoms began and he struggled to keep up with conversations and jokes, he distanced himself from friends and withdrew into himself. He loved to cook, travel and play golf but he can’t do these things any more.

Freya and her dad Euan Drummond
Freya and her dad Euan Drummond

“We still see flashes of his cheeky and sharp sense of humour, and he is still his loving and loyal self, but it has been very hard for us to see him go from such a bright, social and animated man to someone so reserved and unhappy. Of course it has been a thousand times harder for him.”

Carolyn, who works as a property manageress, lives in Cupar with her husband and has three sons, aged 19, 25 and 28. She first started running as an ‘antidote’ to her predominately sedentary job and took on Running Down Dementia after a Facebook post about it grabbed her attention.

She said:

“My main reason for taking part in the challenge was to raise awareness of this terrible disease which can affect people of all ages. It slowly robs the person of their abilities, memories, relationships and the essence of the person they were and it can have devastating effects on their families and loved ones.

“Euan will not make old bones and he will not live to see Archie grow up. His wife Hannah and his daughters are now his carers. We need to find a way to prevent other families from going through the same. That is why research is vital, as there is currently no known cure or treatment that can stop dementia.

“I would like to thank each and every person who has supported me and donated to the cause. We may not now be able to help Euan but the enormous generosity and kindness people have shown means a huge amount not just to me but more importantly to Euan’s family.”

Alzheimer’s Research UK powers world class research into dementia, focusing on prevention, diagnosis and treatments.

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

“We can’t thank Carolyn enough for all her hard work to raise vital funds for dementia research. When there are around 47 million people across the world living with the condition, it’s important we do all we can to beat it.”

To sponsor Carolyn, visit https://running-down-dementia.everydayhero.com/uk/carolyn-2

To sign up for one of Alzheimer’s Research UK’s events go to www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/support-us/fundraise/events/.

Posted in Fundraising news