First Steps: Eilidh

Affecting more than 135,000 people in the UK alone, Alzheimer’s Scotland is a charity that works to provide families with support – ranging from dementia cafes to day centres. I recently took part in The Great Woman’s 10k on the 5th of June to help fundraise for Alzheimer’s Scotland – raising an amazing £410 for the charity.


In the past couple of years, myself and my family started to notice a difference in my Gran. It started with the occasional slip of the tongue, which went on to forgetting family members and even how to do the most basic tasks such as how to pour milk into tea. With the help of home nurses, she was able to live in her house for an extra couple of months after being diagnosed with Vascular Dementia, until it was decided that the best option would be to move her into a care home where she would be able to get the around the clock care and support that my gran needs.


One of the best things about fundraising is the versatility of it. Whether it’s a sponsored run, bungee jump or even a local bake sale, there is a way that anybody of any age and fitness can help raise awareness for charities. I had done a sponsored walk before, some good couple years back, where I donned a pink tutu and leg warmers and completed a run for life for Cancer Research. Due to my age I didn’t really train or run much of it, I more wanted to do it alongside my mum. I was browsing Facebook one-night last year when an advert popped up for The Great Women’s 10k, and I got the idea of doing a sponsored run. After some exciting training (tip – sing to yourself under your breath if you’re like me and forget to breathe whilst working out), I completed the 10k in a 1hr and 20mins, a time that I myself was rather chuffed with.

One of the worst things about Alzheimer’s is watching this person (whether it’s a grandparent, parent, spouse etc.) slowly slip away from you as they begin to forget every little memory or figment of what builds up their personality. Even sitting with the sufferer for half an hour can leave you feeling drained and it is Alzheimer’s Scotland’s work that enables families to go out and spend days in a café or taking part in activities, which can offer even the smallest bit of relief.


There have been a small number of studies which has shown Alzheimer’s to be hereditary, and having had other family members suffer from the illness I am as ever eager to help find a cure – which is why I am running another sponsored run in November. This run is a 5k so half the distance of my last one, however this time I will be running in the cold Scottish weather compared to the 24 degrees of my previous one. Having moved to Edinburgh, training has been interesting as I attempt to find a good running route that doesn’t involve running down Princes’ Street amongst the tourists. I managed to raise an amazing £410 last time and I am looking forwards to hopefully raising more for this amazing charity which lies to closely to my heart.


One thought on “First Steps: Eilidh

  1. Great achievement John, and yes far too many people know the pain of seeing someone with dementia slip away. There’s a lot being done though on living well with dementia for as long as possible, including for people with learning disabilities who are an often over-looked group. If you’re ever interested in finding out more about the latter, let me know.


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