A MAN has set out on a walk from Sunderland to the Lake District to help fund research in to a disease which has struck down his grandmother.
David Stothard, 20, decided to carry out the feat after seeing the impact Alzheimer’s disease is having on 86-year-old Eliza, who now sometimes no longer recognises him.
“She is the inspiration for the challenge,” said David, who was brought up in Sunderland and now lives in Chester-le-Street.
“Nan looked after me when I was growing up and we were very close.
“But she is gradually losing all her independence and needs help with everything due to Alzheimer’s, which is very sad.
“So many people are struggling with this devastating disease and it puts a huge strain on families.”
David decided to do the 180-mile round trip partly because his grandmother used to enjoy long distance walks.
He will be camping on the way and hopes to complete the challenge in seven days.
“I’ve been in training for months by walking everywhere,” he said.
“I don’t even think about the bus or car any more, and I recently walked to Newcastle and back to visit a friend.
“Nan’s illness has made me realise how little money there is for research into the disease.
“It’s young people like me who will reap the benefits of pioneering new treatments, and I want to do my bit to help.”
Jodie Vaughan, from Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We estimate there are 820,000 people in the UK living with dementia, including more than 3,000 in Sunderland.
“Yet funding for research lags behind other serious diseases, and we rely entirely on supporters such as David.”
l Donations can be made by calling 01223 843899 or online via www.justgiving.com/DavidLeeStothard