Alzheimer’s fundraiser to kick off in Sheffield with man running 17 marathons in 17 days

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An Alzheimer’s Research UK fundraiser will kick off in Sheffield with a man running 17 marathons in 17 days in memory his grandfather’s 17-year-long fight against dementia.

Louis Alexander, aged 22, lost his grandfather Captain Rick Taylor three years ago after a long battle against dementia.

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He said: “I made the promise at my grandfather’s funeral that I would support the charity Alzheimer’s Research UK with one event every year until the day we find a cure, in the hope that one day no families have to go through the same suffering that I saw my nan, my mum and my grandfather go through.”

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Louis Alexander is to run 17 marathons in 17 days to raise money for Alzheimer's ResearchLouis Alexander is to run 17 marathons in 17 days to raise money for Alzheimer's Research
Louis Alexander is to run 17 marathons in 17 days to raise money for Alzheimer's Research

For 2022, the active Londoner hopes to raise £17,000 by running 17 marathons in 17 days.

The first marathon will take place on February 16 and will start at Chatsworth Grange care home, Intake, at 10am, where Louis’ grandfather lived in the last few years of his life.

Mr Alexander said: “It will be really special for me to have my family there, especially my nan, and also to bring some awareness to the care home and the staff there who look after people day to day, often without any recognition.

“I want to let them know that people are out there doing things to hopefully find a cure by pushing Alzheimer’s Research UK with fundraisers like this one.”

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Kicking off his marathon challenge in Sheffield has a special meaning for the 22-year-old, as his grandfather was born and bred in Sheffield and shared many memories here with his grandson.

Mr Alexander’s grandfather, Captain Taylor, lived in Woodhouse with his wife Sarah and served 38 years in the British military.

His grandson said: “He was a very active man and lots of my memories with him are all while being active: Of us playing football or being out on the field where my nan lives, with all my cousins.

“Physical fitness was obviously a huge part of his life from his military days. That was instilled in him really up until dementia really took over his life.”

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Being active is also a big part of Mr Alexander’s life, who said he has prepared years for a challenge like this by building up the stamina needed.

His daily marathons will take place all over the UK including in Oxford, Cambridge, Loughborough, Cardiff and London, with a return shortly before the end of the challenge on March 1 at the English Institute of Sport indoor track in Sheffield.

Former fundraising challenges, which overall brought in £22,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK, included him climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, doing 20 challenges in 2020 aged 20 or the 100-kilometre ultramarathon he did last year.

Lucy Haines, Regional Fundraising Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We’re so grateful to Louis for supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK. Dementia affects a significant proportion of the population – at least half of us know someone affected by it. Fantastic fundraising efforts like this will help us to make life-changing research breakthroughs for people with dementia.”

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Together with the charity, Mr Alexander will be visiting a local research lab at the University of Sheffield on the day of the first marathon to meet some of the scientists and talk about the ground-breaking work they are doing in trying to find treatments for dementia.

To donate visit Just Giving.

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