On October 7th 2012, I shall be participating in the Etape Pennines cycle race up in County Durham, England. If I were doing this by myself for a group of fit cyclist friends, it would be a challenge. In order to make it even more exciting I'll be doing it with my family. This will include:
- Chris Loughran - Dad
- Jim Loughran - Uncle
- John Loughran - Elder Brother
- Simon Loughran - Younger Brother
- Chris McCarthy - (ok, so I did have to get one experienced cyclist in to help us).
The reason I'm doing it is to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society. Unfortunately last year my Nan lost her battle with Dementia and passed away at the end of November. It was a very tough time for the family, but unfortunately it was not my first experience of the condition. Both my mothers' parents also had the condition.
I remember posting many years ago about John Suchet's battle in coping with his wife having the condition. He pointed out that it was not a condition which necessarily caused the contractee to suffer, but the family and loved ones that surround them. It can be a very painful condition, moreso when you are left to comprehend the suffering of an increasingly lonely partner.
What does make a big difference though is education and experience. I was a few years younger when my Gran started showing the signs of dementia, but old enough to have been by her bedside for the last few days of her life. Understanding the condition made it much less of a chore, and though it was obvious to see that many in the family were in distress, I always felt happy that my Gran wasn't the one suffering - and if we took to her new character and interacted with her 'in her world' then she was extremely content.
The Alzheimer's Society is a fantastic charity, and due to my girlfriend having worked with the Alzheimer's Society last year, I've been able to gain an invaluable insight into their work. Funding both care and research into dementia, the Alzheimer's Society are fighting on all fronts against dementia.
The donation page at the moment is still setup from the donations from my Nan's funeral. I hope to get the login details off my Uncle soon so that we can re-theme the site to raise the funds for the cycle.
I look forward to your support over the coming months - I need all the peer pressure I can muster to force me to keep training (and keep patience during a 5 hour+ cycle with my family). Please share your stories of dementia and I'll be riding for you too.
1st Training Run - http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/40492892