Raising money through the Gold Challenge
This year's Olympics and Paralympics have provided a great focus for raising money through the Gold Challenge. Danny Ratnaike speaks to three people doing the challenge for Alzheimer's Society.
Gold Challenge was set up to inspire people to make London 2012 an opportunity to raise money for charity. Many of the people taking up challenges themed on 2012 and on Olympic and Paralympic sports have chosen to do so for Alzheimer's Society.
Emily Williams works for Gold Challenge and is doing at least three hours' coaching or competition in 20 different sports. Her grandmother passed away in 2010 after living with Alzheimer's disease for 10 years.
'She went from a strong, vivacious, independent woman to a shadow of her former self. Watching her become someone else not only must have been scary for her, it also had a massive effect on my family.'
Helen Tarver lost her maternal grandmother and more recently her father to Alzheimer's.
'I was conscious of how far treatments had come in the interim 20 years, but equally how underfunded the research was and how invisible the disease was to the wider public.'
After her father died last year she did a Memory Walk but wanted to do more, so she decided to take on a challenge to walk and cycle 2012km by the end of the year.
Myles Nelligan works for GlaxoSmithKline in the US and his goal was to swim, cycle and run 2012km by the opening of the Olympics. At the time of going to press the experienced triathlete was well on track to achieve this.
Myles' father had dementia and passed away in 2008. He said,
'I witnessed a very intelligent, well spoken former judge slowly lose his memory, ability to effectively communicate and motor skills. It is a horrible disease that caused a lot of frustration and pain for my dad, and added stress to our family.'
'The challenge has been full of memorable experiences, however the top one has to be running in the Olympic Stadium. Without the Gold Challenge I would never have had that one opportunity to feel like Usain Bolt!'
As well as being a celebration for fundraisers, the event at the Olympic Stadium in April was a key test for the new venue. Helen was there with her daughter Imogen, aged 10, who is doing her own 201.2km challenge and was asked to lead the parade alongside the top adult fundraiser.
'She's raised a good amount at school and is busy clocking up miles with me. It was hard to explain to her what was happening to her grandad, but they had many happy times together.'
Speaking about her own challenge, Helen says,
'Even a former complete couch potato can do something like this and for a great cause.'