'Why I run for Alzheimer's'
PUBLISHED: 19:21 26 February 2011 | UPDATED: 18:57 20 February 2013
For the past year Glen Davis, from Essendon, has been running a series of marathons around the world to raise money for research into Alzheimer's disease. Hertfordshire Life met up with him to find out why
For the past year Glen Davis, from Essendon, has been running a series of marathons around the world to raise money for research into Alzheimers disease. Hertfordshire Life met up with him to find out why
MEETING Glen for the first time, hes friendly, outgoing and doesnt appear to have a care in the world. Hes got a successful career as a chartered accountant, a loving family, busy social life and his girlfriend, Laura, to share it with.
But behind his broad smile lies a great sadness. Matilda, the gran that he adores, has Alzheimers disease, the most common form of dementia.
There are 820,000 people in the UK today living with the daily reality of dementia, including over 11,000 people in Hertfordshire. It can result in a raft of symptoms confusion, memory loss, mood swings, impaired language and the breakdown of basic bodily functions.
This cruel disease has broken the strongest woman I know, says 27-year-old Glen. Theres no cure and very little money available for research to find one. Having worked hard all her life, now she can no longer walk, talk or do anything for herself.
Thats why Ive decided to take some positive action. I know its too late for gran but Im aiming to raise 10,000 for the Alzheimers Research Trust to support its mission to beat dementia. Ive already achieved three-quarters of that total by setting myself the challenge of running six marathons around the world. My first run was in Paris in April, closely followed by the Virgin London Marathon. Since then Ive gone on to run in Berlin, Chicago and Dublin. Ive got one more to go, the Miami Marathon in January. I pay all my own travel costs and every single penny raised goes directly to the charity.
My family, friends and the local community have been rallying round to help raise money too. During the summer we had a charity cricket match and a beach party and have organised an annual golf day Ive called it the Matilda Davis Cup, after gran. My brother is also helping me organise a fundraising dinner in the New Year with an auction and all sorts of fun. So watch this space!
This cruel disease has broken the strongest woman I know
Glen and his family moved to Essendon 21 years ago and bought the village pub, the Rose & Crown. Matilda lived in a bungalow just along the road and Glen and his brother stayed with her while their mum and dad concentrated on renovating the pub.
They were happy times, Glen reflects. Gran used to take us into town on the bus and for long walks with our dog we had great fun together and grew very close. Sundays were always special too as wed all sit down together for a traditional family lunch and gran would tell us stories about her life growing up in Northern Ireland.
She took an interest in everything we did and was always there to give us words of encouragement, from our early school days at Edge Grove in Radlett, to taking the next big step and going to Haileybury College, near Hertford. I can remember her being so proud when I told her Id got a place at Newcastle University.
By the time Glen had finished his degree in business and economics, the family started to notice a change in Matilda. She was becoming increasingly forgetful and confused. Four years ago, as she approached 80, she received the devastating diagnosis.
Gran lives with us now and I see her practically every day, says Glen. When I look into her eyes I know that recognition has gone along with memories of our happy times together. It makes me realise the importance of raising this money. Words cant describe how much I want a cure for this disease so that other people dont have to suffer.
Anyone wishing to add to Glens efforts to raise money for the Alzheimers Research Trust can do so bycalling Sharon
Manison at the charity on 01223 843899 or online at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/glenglobal
The Alzheimers Research Trust
The Alzheimers Research Trust is the UKs leading dementia research charity. It raises money to fund world-class research to find preventions, treatments and the ultimate cure. The charity relies solely on public donations to fund its research.
Free information about Alzheimers disease and related dementias is available from the Alzheimers Research Trust by calling 01223 843899
or online at www.alzheimers-research.org.uk