A family from Norfolk are dusting off their trainers to run together in memory of their father. 

John Stevenson was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 52, much to the shock of his loved ones. 

His daughter, Rebecca Peak, recalls how unexpected the diagnosis was and his slow decline as the disease progressed.

She said: “We were very lucky in that Dad was very gracious with his diagnosis; he accepted it and chose to live the best life he could. 

“First, he was unable to read, then unable to sort through the change in his pocket and next unable to write. 

“They seem like fairly innocuous matters but as the next ability was taken, it was heartbreaking.  

“Over the years he became more and more dependent on my Mum, needing constant care, and help with dressing, personal hygiene and feeding.  

“He was such a fighter to the very end, and it was a long and painful goodbye for us all.”

Rebecca and her family were inspired to enter the Simplyhealth Great North Run on Sunday 10 September to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society after her dad’s diagnosis. 

Rebecca said: “I got into running thanks to my Dad.  

“When his driving licence was taken away due to the Alzheimer's, a family friend suggested that he take up running to keep him active and to give him a form of independence.

“He decided that he needed a goal to work towards, so in 2006 we ran the Great North Run as a family with Dad in aid of the Alzheimer's Society.  

“Dad was physically very fit and running seemed to give him a new lease of life. 

“I ran the Great North Run a further two times with Dad in 2007 and 2008 and caught the running bug, going on to run the New York and London.  

“Unfortunately by the last year, Dad's Alzheimer's had progressed to a point where the race and distance became too much, but he left his running days on a high, completing the race for a third year in a row.”

John’s family and friends are forming a team again for the half marathon this year to fundraise again. 
“When Dad passed away last September it felt only right that we should come together again to run in his memory.” 

Support Rebecca’s fundraising for Alzheimer’s.

For more information about the Simplyhealth Great North Run, visit our website.