Jack Gibson, in Newquay, shares what motivated him to run hundreds of miles in aid of Alzheimer’s Society.
My dad Richard was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014.
As a family, we cared for him at home for as long as possible. Then he moved to a specialist dementia care unit, where he’s been living for the last five years.
Dad was in the Royal Navy and was with the London Fire Brigade for 27 years. After retirement, he worked alongside my mum as a childminder.
Around 2013, we started to notice that simple tasks were becoming a lot harder for him.
Watching a man who led such an active life and gave so much back to the world struggling is excruciating.
I still visit him every week, but he is heartbreakingly no longer able to recognise his family.
Dad is an inspiration to me. He’s come through a lot, from double pneumonia to living in residential care during Covid.
He’s the reason I chose to work in childcare, and I’ve now embarked on a new career as a nanny.
That is why I decided to run 200 miles in a month and then 300 miles in a month to fundraise for Alzheimer’s Society.
The idea came to me during lockdown when I started running. Like many, I was looking for reasons to get out of the house.
I had to run six miles every day to stay on track, but this increased to 10 miles for my 300-mile challenge!
If I missed a day, it meant I would have to run double the next. I racked up the miles early on – though I still had to do the odd 15-mile run…
It was one of the wettest Octobers, everybody was saying to me, ‘You’ve picked the worst month!’
It was hard work, but friends joined me on some runs. Their support made it much easier.
A marathon challenge
Thinking of Dad’s resilience and what I was ultimately raising money for kept me going.
Some people promised to donate only once I’d completed the challenge, which was a big motivator!
In 2023, I entered the charity ballot for the London Marathon. I’d never run a marathon before.
It was raining on the day, but the amazing atmosphere and the crowds encouraged me.
I’ve now signed up for the 2024 marathon, again raising money for the Society.
I run because no family should have to go through what we did.
I hope there will be a cure for this heartbreaking disease one day so they don’t have to.
Fundraising is one way I can help make this happen.
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