Scarborough woman to take on volcano trek in honour of Nan with Alzheimer’s

11 April 2018

A determined dance teacher is taking part in Alzheimer’s Research UK’s first ever overseas trek to raise funds for dementia research this April in honour of her loving Nan, who helped raise her.

Sarah Wood is setting off with a team of dedicated volunteers on 14 April to Guatemala to trek five active volcanoes over seven days and raise vital funds for the dementia research charity.

Sarah Wood

Sarah Wood

She is taking on the challenge because her Nan, Lois Doyle, has Alzheimer’s disease.

Sarah, who runs the Doyle Academy of Irish Dance in Scarborough, wanted to do something to help others with the disease, so when she saw the Guatemala trek advertised, she jumped at the chance.

The trek comes after a difficult few years for the 27-year-old and her family.

Lois had been showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease for several years by the time she was diagnosed in 2011.

Sarah said:

“When I went to university, I would try to get back home as much as I could to visit my family, but I started to notice strange things happening.

“One day, there was a pot of boiling water left on the stove when I arrived. I would often find food left in the microwave and dishes weren’t being done.

“I was gutted for her when she was diagnosed. It was a really frightening moment because I didn’t really know what it meant. I had studied it academically as a part of my degree but being part of the experience is completely different.”

Sarah Wood

Sarah Wood

The diagnosis was especially devastating for Sarah as her Nan helped to raise her, and the pair have always been extremely close.

Lois spent a lot of time looking after Sarah when she was growing up while her mum trained to be a nurse, and the pair have a close bond as a result.

“When she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I realised I would never get to tell her how much she meant to me, because I don’t think she ever really thought that much of herself. I look back on my childhood and see her as so strong.”

As there are currently no treatments that can slow or prevent dementia, Sarah has often felt like there is nothing she can do to help her Nan. So when she saw the trek to Guatemala advertised, she leapt at the chance to help fund research into the condition.

“When I saw this trek being advertised, I decided to sign up because I wanted to do something to help my Nan. She is now living in a care home full-time and she’s doing quite well there.

“While she is happy in the care home, I know that it’s not enough. I don’t want other families to have to go through what we’ve been through. Seeing my Nan having this disease has opened my eyes to how cruel it is, and how badly we need to find new treatments.”

You can donate to Sarah’s JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sarah-wood55

Claire Priestwood, Regional Fundraising Officer for the North East at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“We would like to thank Sarah for taking part in Alzheimer’s Research UK’s first ever overseas trek to help raise funds for dementia research.

“Our mission is to find the first life-changing treatment for dementia by 2025 by funding pioneering research projects. This wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of people like Sarah.”