Sutton Coldfield cyclist will ride the length and breadth of the country for Alzheimer’s Research UK, in her parents’ memory
04 August 2017
Justine Longmore will pedal 1,000 miles around the UK to raise vital funds for dementia research after watching both her parents deteriorate with Alzheimer’s disease.
Justine, who has always been a keen cyclist, decided she wanted to take her love for the sport to the next level with a mammoth ride that will involve her cycling the length and breadth of the UK to raise money for the UK’s leading dementia research charity.
She said: “Both my parents were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia after starting to exhibit symptoms in early 2011. Within four years of their diagnoses, my mum had passed away, my dad died 18 months later.
“My parents’ deterioration was fast but escalated at different rates. One month my Dad would be better than my Mum but then it would switch around and Dad would suddenly be the one who was experiencing the most difficulties. It was difficult to maintain the appropriate level of care as it was constantly changing and their needs were different.
“It’s devastating to watch the people you know and love disappear along with the memories they treasured.”
The freelance project manager used cycling as a way of clearing her head while caring for her mum and dad.
She said: “I have enjoyed cycling all my life, but in those dark days, when time allowed, I found myself riding my bike further than ever before. I rode loops that never took me too far from home, enabling me to get back to my parents quickly if needed.
“It was a great way for me to clear my head and it was during one of these rides that I thought it would be good to do something that would challenge myself but also make a difference to dementia research. My hope is that, in the future, others don’t have to go through what my family has been through.”
After clocking up mileage at a local cycle club she signed up to take part in a group 989-mile ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats on 6 August followed by a 132-mile coast to coast ride starting at Workington.
Justine has already raised more than £1,300 from a number of static bike rides in her local area and giving talks about her experience of dementia and her cycle challenge.
Zoe Baggott, Regional Fundraising Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Justine is taking on a remarkable challenge in memory of her parents to raise vital funds for dementia research. We can’t thank her enough for supporting the work we do to bring about the first life-changing dementia treatment by 2025.”
For further information about Alzheimer’s Research UK, or to find out more about fundraising for the charity, call 0300 111 5555 or visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org