Liam's Dubai Olympic Triathlon challenge for TeamAlzScot
“Beautiful, witty, would give her heart to someone who needed it - these are words and phrases on how I would describe my Grandma.”
Liam Grant from Edinburgh, now residing in Dubai, is preparing to participate in the Olympic Triathlon Challenge whilst fundraising for Alzheimer Scotland in memory of his much loved Grandma Jean.
Jean was born in Bellshill and moved to Dalkeith at a young age. Sadly in 2011, at the age of 76, Jean was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and later died in 2016. Liam shared some of his fondest memories of his Grandma with us:
“My Grandma was the Matriarch of our family. As the head of the family, she had to be a strong disciplinarian. However, I never saw her strict side at all. I was the youngest member of the family, the boy with the blonde hair and blue eyes, the one who could not do anything wrong.
One Christmas day, my Grandma was cooking dinner for the whole family. I was only young and the adult conversations didn't interest me much (there were no conversations about Thomas the Tank). I went through to help my Grandma cook but, unfortunately, I only became a problem… Climbing onto a shelf that housed the full Christmas china set, wasn't the best idea. CRASH!! I fell through the shelf, taking the full set of plates, bowls, side plates with me. The stress of cooking Christmas dinner, with the added pressure of a young Grandson smashing the full dinner set we were about to use, didn't phase her. She dived at me, picked me up, her only concern was if I was okay.”
"I had a strong relationship with my Grandma. Due to work commitments my Dad and Mum had, I used to go to her house before and after school for over 10 years. In the winters she used to heat my socks and pants up in the oven before I headed out to tackle the frosty freezing Scottish morning, as well as making sure I was stocked up with snacks.”
Throughout her diagnosis, Jean enjoyed the company of an Alzheimer Scotland befriender from her local Dalkeith Dementia Resource Centre. Liam recalls how much his Grandma enjoyed these outings and how much care and love she was treated with.
“We were lucky to have a solid family foundation to be able to support her with love. Some people are not as lucky as my Grandma, and unfortunately do not have the support while they go through dementia alone.”
Our befriending volunteers offer social contact and help people living with dementia to combat loneliness and isolation. Alzheimer Scotland Befrienders provide companionship in the person’s home, local community, care home or hospital and help people living with dementia to participate in appropriate social and/or recreational activities.
Liam’s Triathlon will take place in October in Dubai, where Liam now lives, and hopes his family will be able to travel to join him at the finish line and raise a glass to Jean.
“Throughout my training and the event itself, I know my Grandma will be there with me. Supporting me, cheering me on and celebrating with me at the finishing line. My Grandma wasn’t big on sport; however, she ran the family. She supported my Grandfather through his athletics coaching, swimming and marathon running, so I wanted to raise money in memory of my Grandma.”
We asked Liam what his advice would be for anyone considering fundraising:
“Everyone has a target they want to raise, some people raise much more, some people raise less. Don’t be afraid of not raising thousands of pounds, if you can raise £100, its £100 more than the charity would have had. Whatever you raise helps in more ways than you can think of.”
Good luck Liam, and thank you!
You can support Liam in his challenge by donating to his JustGiving page.