Tag Archives: Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Champion

Inspiration

The April edition of Runner’s World has an article about my OCD, and how running helps.

It’s not always easy to be open about having a mental health condition, but anyone who reads my blog, or knows me personally will already know that about me, so I figured the extra exposure in RW wasn’t something to be scared of, and it may help someone else.

I haven’t had a chance to read the whole magazine properly yet, but picking up my copy today, to write this post, it fell open on page 55 – “Outrunning the Demons”, written by Greg O’Brien. from America. His personal account of what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s.

Much of what Greg writes about resonates with me. My own family – grandparents and my dad – and their struggle with dementia, my fears about how my own mind works, and how both running and writing help to combat some of the anxiety.

Greg’s story is inspiring – he pushes himself mentally and physically, in a determined refusal to give in to the gradual erosion of his mental capability, which he describes as: “Like a death in slow motion, like having a sliver of your brain shaved every day”.

Running, he says, restores mental as well as physical stamina: “It flicks the lights back on. It reboots my mind, provides a reprieve, so I can do what I love most – write, think and focus.”

As I said, inspiring stuff.

The whole article is well worth a read, being informative and beautifully and intelligently written.

I felt chuffed that things I’ve done have been called inspiring recently – a former colleague having read the RW article said I was their inspiration to become a runner. And at a school presentation, where I was reading my children’s story “Tuamor the Turtle”, one of the 10-year-olds said it was inspirational.

What a thrill to make such a strong connection, gain positive endorsement.

I’ve been into several schools in recent weeks and had great feedback from the children and teachers alike. It’s been incredibly rewarding and sparked wonderful creativity and imagination. This is some artwork done by children at Cranbrook Primary School, near Exeter.

And exciting news today, I had confirmation from a national marine conservation organisation that they will become a main charity partner for the book

For a while after I gave up work, I felt rather uninspired and as if I had nothing much to give.

Greg was worried when his Alzheimer’s was diagnosed that it would rob him of his creativity, but he now devotes his time to speaking and writing about it and has won numerous awards.

I’ve used my OCD as the basis to write this blog for nearly three years now, and it’s helped give me the confidence to publish my first book, which is already leading to other things.

Creativity comes from within – and it’s in all of us – all you need is to find your inspiration.

 

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A bear of very little brain…..

I’ve been sitting here for the last hour or more trying to add a couple of permanent web links to this blog.

I’ve tried every possible combination I can think of in the site admin pages, to no avail.

Huw Bishop (that’s my IT proficient nephew) I need your help!!

You see when it comes to technology, like Winnie the Pooh, I really am a bear of very little brain.

I felt like that last evening as well when I was at the Exeter University research laboratory where BRACE funded lecturer Dr Katie Lunnon was demonstrating some of her incredible cutting-edge work.

WOW! Talk about mind-blowing. Science was my worst subject at school. So the array of whirring machines and the depth of analysis and detail that Katie so eloquently described mostly went over my head. It was rather like the whoosh of a jumbo jet if you were standing underneath – I just couldn’t take it all in, but at the same time, I was aware of something huge, powerful and exciting taking off before me.

Katie was talking at the first get together of what’s hoped will lead to the setting up of a Devon support group for BRACE – something that everyone at the meeting was very enthusiastic about, and all passionate in their own way to do as much as they can to fight dementia.

I’ve just added another string to my bow on that front, having completed the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Champion training course, which is about raising awareness in a targeted way, encouraging more people to become Dementia Friends and commit to something they can also do to help.

Already one million people have signed up, which is fantastic, and shows how each of us – even in a small way – by working together can help achieve real change.

Last week I also wrote about my cousin Steve Isaac and the documentary Filming My Father in Life and Death. After being posted on social media, the trailer had 30,000 views within two days – incredible. The film will be shown 11th March on Channel 5 in the UK and released internationally via BBC Worldwide.

Here are some links in short form to the topics above……….

http://www.alzheimers-brace.org/

https://www.facebook.com/FilmingMyFather?fref=nf

https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/

……hopefully with a bit of technical help, by next week I’ll have the full links and images permanently attached to the page.

In the meantime, this bear of very little brain, but usefully strong legs is off to do something it can tackle more easily, like – go for a training run!

Three things…..

A busy week ahead, so a quick blog with three things to say (well four, sort of!)………

*Running: I completed marathon 47 yesterday, near Fordingbridge, in the New Forest. It’s a tough off road, hilly, challenging course. It was initially frosty and cold, then driving rain, windy and cold. I arrived back at the car exhausted, chilled to the core, wet through and miserable. A hasty change of clothes, egg sandwich, flask of coffee, heater on full blast, and an hour later, hey presto, dry, warm, fed and smiling again.

*Dementia: This Friday I’m attending an Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Champion training course, to help spread awareness of this life-changing condition. I’ll also be going to a meeting next Monday to join in with the launch of the first BRACE Devon support group. It’s open to anyone with an interest in dementia and you can read more about it here http://www.alzheimers-brace.org/events/devon-group-initial-meeting

Me in baseball cap on the right, with Steve, his family and supporters at the Butser Hill Run in September 2011.

Me in baseball cap on the right, with Steve, his family and supporters at the Butser Hill Run in September 2011.

*Motor Neurone Disease: My cousin Steve Isaac, who has Motor Neurone Disease, is to be the subject of a Channel 5 documentary, largely filmed by his son Fraser. It gives a unique personal insight as to how this devastating illness has affected Steve and his family. It’s due to be aired in early March, read more and watch the moving trailer via this link  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Filming-My-Father-In-Life-and-Death/1398871757089703?notif_t=fbpage_fan_invite

 

So that’s my three things, plus one final sum up…..

I have three marathons left now to complete my 50 at 50 Marathon Challenge. I know they’ll be tough, a marathon is. But I know as well, I’ll be able to smile again afterwards and resume normal life. My dad and people who suffer from dementia, my cousin Steve and those who suffer from MND, indeed anyone with a chronic life-threatening condition does not have that post finish line recovery to look forward to and enjoy.

Anything we can all do to raise awareness about these conditions, and help promote the research into seeking a cure is a help. Running a marathon, or simply clicking a facebook like from the comfort of your armchair. Any. Thing. Is a help.

Thanks for reading this.