Susie Hewer

Charity

Alzheimer's Research UK
Alzheimer's Research UK is the UK's leading dementia research charity. As research experts, we specialise in funding world-class, pioneering research at leading universities to find preventions, treatments and a cure for dementia. We believe science and innovation hold the key to defeating dementia and invest in the scientists learning more about the condition and its causes. Our findings improve the lives of everyone affected by dementia now and in the future. We forge partnerships with Government and other key organisations to make dementia research a national priority. We encourage everyone to join us in supporting research and achieving a world free from dementia.


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Susie Hewer's fundraising page 2014

Fundraiser: 
Susie Hewer

My page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/extremeknittingredhead

Hi, thanks for visiting my page where I am again raising funds for Alzheimer's Research UK.  Although the money available for dementia research has improved slightly (thanks to a pledge made by the current Government), I am still concerned that it is vastly underfunded, with much more work to do, and so I have to keep on running!  

For anyone without experience of dementia and the horrors that it brings, please read mum's story below and you'll see why I think it's so important to raise awareness about the disease and I continue to raise money for vital research.

Having now completed 36 marathons, run the London marathon 4 times whilst knitting (and gaining Guinness World Records), knit whilst riding on the back of a tandem and other knitterly things, I needed a new challenge so that you don't all think I'm stuck in a rut and it's getting too easy for me!

As always, my challenge is based upon my age and I will be 57 in June 2014. 

 - Starting on 1st January 2014 I shall run a minimum of 5k every day for 5 months (that's the '5' part of my age!).

- For the '7' part of my age (yes you've guessed it!) I shall be running 7 marathons starting with  2 marathons in a weekend at the end of March, one on Saturday and then one on Sunday which I have never done before.

The first 5 marathons are during my 5 month running streak so tapering (ie cutting down my mileage ahead of a marathon) won't be an option! My mileage as at the end of March was 600 miles so far this year).

1. 29th March. The Bells and Whistles marathon in Dover completed in 5:19:32 coming in 46th out of 58 finishers.

2. 30th March. The same marathon again! Completed in 5:32:23 coming in 32nd out of 39 finishers.

3. 13th April. The Virgin London Marathon where I shall be having some fun -

i) On the morning of the marathon I will start crocheting a blanket as a gift for someone with dementia. Anyone I meet up until the start will be invited to crochet a few stitches, if they can crochet, before I stash it in my baggage until after the race. At the end of the race I shall continue crocheting the blanket on the journey home. I want the sufferer to know that they are not alone and that they are joined together with everyone else who has experience of this horrible disease. The blanket will wrap them in our collective love.

ii) During the marathon I shall be attempting to beat my own Guinness World Record for the longest crochet chain whilst running a marathon (77.4 metres). The chain will then be attached to the blanket.

I often use crochet, which forms a series of interlocking chains, as a way of explaining how dementia breaks the links between brain cells. In a healthy brain thoughts flow freely between each connected section, but dementia breaks those links so the brain is no longer able to function. My mum taught me to crochet when I was very young so it has an extra special meaning for me.

Shortly before I set the GWR in 2010 I suffered neck problems following a car crash and had to use really lightweight yarn as I couldn't bear the weight of a heavy yarn. Even that hurt my neck like mad and I was in agony from mile 17 onwards but I was determined not to pull out of the marathon.

So I have unfinished business and I'm confident that I can crochet a much longer chain this year! Indeed I did - 139.42 metres of very heavy crocheted chain completed in 5:40:42 (it could have been longer but it was just too hot and sweaty hands don't work very well with yarn!!!!).

4. 4th May. The Three Forts Challenge. 27 miles on tough and hilly terrain up on the South Downs. I've run it 3 times before and the weather can be very unkind (rain, sleet, ice, mud and wind)! Completed in 5:41:27 which is a 20 minute course pb as I've never managed to get under 6 hours before.

5. 31st May. The Kent Roadrunner marathon held at the cyclopark near Gravesend. It's 17 laps of the course so I might be a bit dizzy by the end! This marks the end of my 5 month running streak. Completed in 4:55:03 on what was a very hot day.

At the end of my 5 month running streak I have run 901 miles including 5 marathons so just 2 more to do in the Autumn.

6. 11th October. The Fowlmead Challenge near Deal. It is an undulating route of 2.2 mile laps through the Fowlmead Country Park. You can complete as many laps as you like within the 6 hour time limit. I like the idea of being able to do more laps if I'm still feeling OK after reaching the marathon distance. Completed in 5:18:27.

7. 25th October. The Beachy Head Marathon. My favourite off-road marathon but certainly not for the faint-hearted! Completed in 6:24:56.[/b]

You can keep up to date with my progress by checking out my blog

Mum's story:

In 1997 my mother, then aged 81, had a series of minor strokes.  Shortly after that we started to notice behavioural changes notably memory loss and confusion over everyday items.  We thought it was just old age finally catching up with her.  Then she started wandering and had violent mood swings.  Although she already lived with us it became obvious that she couldn't be left alone for long and so I left my job to care for her.

The next few years saw a gradual decline into the blackness that is 'vascular dementia'.  My normally placid mum became violent and aggressive.  She had psychotic incidents where she would see imaginary people (children hiding in her wardrobe, Russians sitting on the stairs, women stealing her clothes) and she would shout at them and sometimes throw things too.  She was so convincing that we used to go and check that there wasn't anyone there!  When my sister died several years ago mum did not know who Judy was or that she was her daughter.  The moment that I finally realised she no longer knew that I was her daughter was a terrible time for me.

In the last 2 years that she lived with us, life for us all became almost unbearable as she needed 24 hour care - she couldn't be left alone at all because she would either wander off or hurt herself, she never slept for more than 30 minutes at a time during the night, she became incontinent and incapable of doing anything for herself.  Finally my husband and I realised that we could no longer provide her with the care that she needed and she went to live in Castlemaine where Harry and his team did a splendid job caring for her in the final months of her life.

There she lived a zombified existence unaware of who she was, what she was or where she was.  It was heartbreaking.  She died in 2005, the day after her 89th birthday. I ran my first London marathon in her memory 2 weeks later.

Through Virgin Money Giving, you can sponsor me and donations will be quickly processed and passed to charities. Virgin Money Giving is a not for profit organisation and will claim gift aid on a charity's behalf where the donor is eligible for this. I really appreciate all your support and thank you for any donations.

Recent donors

18.08.14 Wow, you're amazing!!! Keep it up!!

04.07.14 Saw the article about you in Inside Crochet and am donating in memory of my grandmother. Your efforts are impressive.

15.06.14 Happy Birthday, Love from, Karen,Mark,Sophie & Chloe xxxx

05.05.14 Good on ya gal, keep right on to the end of the road. Loads a love.

24.04.14 Amazing work, Susie! Well done!

21.04.14 Well done Susie. Fantastic.

18.04.14 Well done Susie. You are amazing. x

17.04.14 well done - a worthy cause

14.04.14 Saw you on TV - well done!

14.04.14 Good luck - Duncan

14.04.14 So moved by your story. My Mum is in the early stages of dementia and my bil sister died when she was 61 of the disease. Thank you for caring enough to to do something about it. You are my HERO.

13.04.14 Well done for all your efforts - very inspirational. I'm 21 and my grandma suffers from Alzheimer's disease so I know how affects the whole family. I hope to run the London marathon one day soon!

13.04.14 You are one very special lady in a zillion. X

13.04.14 A truly inspirational lady and a very worthy cause. Good luck with this year's challenge Susie!

13.04.14 Good luck. Watching TV to see if I see you. X

13.04.14

13.04.14 Saw you on the TV and thought you were awesome. Bonkers, but awesome. Good luck

12.04.14 Good luck Soppy. xx

11.04.14 Good luck at the weekend. My father suffers with dementia and my donation (from my charity "knitting" purse) comes to you with understanding .

11.04.14 Inspiration. Legend. Just what others below have said already - you are amazing! Good luck and enjoy it!

09.04.14 lady, you are a legend. Not only are you running for Alzheimers, you're doing another one of my fav hobbies - crocheting. Good on you, best of luck for the World Record attempt!!! (Saw you on Runners World fb page)

07.04.14 Keep running, Susie

07.04.14 Like Spencer Davis Group..'Keep on Runnin'

07.04.14 I'm proud of you Susie

07.04.14

£2,087.00

Running total

Target:
£1,000.00
Total raised incl. Gift Aid:
£2,406.25
Total donors:
35
Last donor:
Suzanne & Ray Foley
18.08.14  
Offline fundraising:
£600.00