A Cupar runner threw on her trainers and took to the countryside to show solidarity and support for her friend of nearly 40 years.
Carolyn Haddow, 53, first met Euan Drummond, 56, when she was 17. Now, nearly four decades later she is trying to help raise awareness of of a disease that has sent a devastating shockwave through Euan’s family.
Two years ago he was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s and he and his family are struggling to cope with the implications of the diagnosis.
Although often thought of as a disease of older people, around 4 percent of people with Alzheimer’s are under 65.
Scrolling through Facebook Carolyn’s attention was grabbed by a challenge set up by parkrun and Alzheimer’s Research UK.
The Running for Dementia initiative calls on people to run 100km and raise £100 in a bid to ‘strike a blow’ in the battle against dementia.
Deciding to ‘smash it’ Carolyn, who started running three years ago as a coping mechanism for sitting behind a desk all day, ran 10km a day for 10 days.
Carolyn said: “We all know that the funds we are raising here cannot now help Euan but what is helping Euan, Hannah and their family is the fact so many people have championed the cause because it’s Euan, he is a lovely guy.
“Just raising awareness of how he is suffering with this condition is helping as well as contributing funds for further research to prevent other families going through a similar experience.
“Knowing people care enough to get in touch and contribute means so much to them. This is like a huge big hug to the whole family.”
An outpouring of support for Euan and his family followed as news Carolyn’s personal challenge spread and instead of raising £100 she has now donated nearly £1,300 to the Running for Dementia campaign.
“Word got out there and it’s helping the family in a way we didn’t actually realise it would,” explained Carolyn.
Euan, father to Poppy, 26, Freya 20 and Archie, 1, can no longer work and his wife Hannah is juggling caring for Archie and Euan while balancing the books.
The Alzheimer’s Society predicts that by 2025 there will be one million people in the UK living with dementia.
The money raised through initiatives such as Running Down Dementia will go towards research into dementia prevention.