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I wish to share with you my first-hand experience with how I struggled at the hands of dementia. My Nana, prior to her passing in 2010, had this heartbreaking condition which has prompted me to raise awareness and fundraise for the extensive hard work Alzheimer Scotland does to help those directly affected by this illness.

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My Nana was my best friend, my hero, my angel in my hour of need. As she was disabled, we would spend hours in front of the TV drinking cups of tea and some of the laughs we had were memories that shall never leave me for as long as I live. They say that the old ones are the best and I echo those sentiments – you were one comical character, well loved by her family and friends!

I started to notice that her mind was not quite the same in the years leading up to her passing in 2010 and remember thinking that whilst I observed this, she would surely not forget who I was. I was so close to her so how could she forget me by seeing me often? Boy, how wrong was I? She ended up having to move from her home into a care home as her needs were changing along with her health which was proving challenging on her.

Going to visit her one day and I greeted her in my usual way of giving her a kiss and cuddle for her to ask me that question that I was always dreading “who are you, Son?” I still find it really difficult to put into words just how dejected I felt on hearing those words. This was the moment I knew that my world was about to change forever.

Not a day passing to this day where I do not wish that I had one last day with her where she would remember me and I could tell her how much I love her and just how much she molded me into the person I have become.

Whilst I cannot advise her of the above, I have decided that as a fitting tribute to her, I have entered the EMF Edinburgh Marathon Festival 2017 Half Marathon. For those who don’t know me, I have only just taken up running in November 2016 and this will be my maiden running event. I have a huge amount of thanks to offer to the online running group ‘The Running Ninjas’ for their tremendous support in my training and for helping me through those bad days of training.

I am by no means the fittest person but my Nana is my drive to complete the 13.1 miles. I know that this will physically push me to limits that I have not taken my body to but this is something that means so much to me.

Crossing that finishing line and completing this event will mean so much to me and being in a position to thank everyone at Alzheimer Scotland for all their hard work, support and for allowing me the privilege in proudly wearing that purple vest supporting the charity. As emotions will be running high, there also may be a few tears as well but, in my heart, I’ll know my Nana will be looking down on me with pride.

In light of the above, if I can do this, there’s nothing stopping you!

Hopefully I will see some of you at the event cheering me on helping me through the hard parts of the course!

If you’d like to run alongside Derek, sign up here

If you’d like to sponsor Derek, you can do on his JustGiving page.