A CARING Wearsider whose life has been touched by the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s Disease is to go on a gruelling walking challenge in aid of charity.
David Stothard’s grandmother Eliza, now 86, was diagnosed with the illness several years ago.
And as a tribute to her, he will set off on a walk of more than 350 miles to raise cash for Alzheimer’s Research UK, which funds research into dementia.
Next month, the 20-year-old will journey on foot from Sunderland to Lake Windemere, in Cumbria, before walking back again.
It is estimated that about 3,000 people are living with the disease in Sunderland alone.
David, a former student at Park View Academy, in Chester-le-Street, explained why he has decided to take up the challenge.
“My nan is the inspiration behind this challenge,” said David.
“Before Alzheimer’s crept on she loved walking long distances and the route from Sunderland to Lake Windermere was her favourite.
“I’m looking forward to discovering why she loved it so much and raising as much money as possible for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
“When I was growing up nan looked after me and we were very close – now she doesn’t always recognise me.
“She’s gradually lost all her independence, which is very sad, and needs help with everything.
“Nan’s illness has made me realise how little money there is for research for new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
“It’s young people like me who’ll reap the benefits from today’s pioneering research.”
Jodie Vaughan, senior fund-raising officer for Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Dementia poses one of the greatest threats to public health now and in the future but funding for research still lags significantly behind other serious diseases.
“We rely entirely on our wonderful supporters like David to fund our world-class research.”
David will set off on Thursday, September 6, and hopes to complete the trek in seven days.
To donate call 01223 843899 or go online to www.justgiving.com/DavidLeeStothard.