A football club are helping to achieve the goal of a world without dementia by supporting a player who is running the Virgin Money London Marathon to raise money for pioneering research.
Biggleswade Town right-back Jack Bradshaw will be running the iconic 26.2-mile race on April 28 to support the Dementia Revolution, a one-year campaign from Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK as Charity of the Year for this year’s event.
The father-of-two, who lives in Stevenage, was inspired to support the Dementia Revolution as his family is affected by a very rare inherited form of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease caused by a faulty gene.
Jack’s grandmother developed Alzheimer’s aged just 48 and died at 65. His mum was diagnosed at the same age six years ago and is now living in a care home. Jack has a 50 per cent chance of inheriting the gene that would mean he would develop the condition at around the same age.
To support him, the Waders are making their Evo-Stik League South, Premier Division home match against Jack’s former club Royston Town on Saturday, March 2 (kick-off 3pm) a special fundraising day. There will be bucket collections and a raffle, and the home side will wear Dementia Revolution T-shirts in the warm-up.
Jack, who will be running the marathon alongside his brother Tom, Tom’s wife Jaymie, his cousin Carli Pirie and her partner Alex Robertson-Cox, said: “I’m so pleased Biggleswade Town are supporting our London Marathon fundraising. It’s the perfect game for this as I played for Royston for a long time and had a lot of success there.
“The Dementia Revolution is a fantastic campaign raising awareness of dementia and supporting incredible research which will help ensure in the future families won’t have to go through what we are going through.
“My mum was a superwoman. She tried to protect us. When she was diagnosed, she would say ‘I’m fine you’ve got nothing to worry about’, but deep down she knew what was going to happen.
“It’s been shocking how rapid her decline has been. It’s like one minute you’re going around your mum’s house for a nice cup of tea and a chat and then you blink and she’s in a nursing home.
“When you visit her you have to accept that the visit is not going to go how you want it to go. A lot of the time you are asking her questions and then having to answer them yourself. But now and again she can be like her old self, with little jokes or just her mannerisms that let you know the old mum is still there.
“For a long time I was a bit oblivious to my genetic risk. You think you’re invincible and it’s not going to happen to you. But now I have children I think about it more and thinking about the possibility that I might have the gene and my children could have it terrifies me.”
Biggleswade Town manager Lee Allinson said: “Jack is a fantastic lad and an important part of our team. What his family have gone through is terrible. Their positivity and the amazing things they are doing to help raise money and awareness is something to be admired, so we fully support Jack and his family and anything we can do to help we will.”
Jack joined Biggleswade in the summer having spent a season at St Neots Town. He came through the youth ranks at Stevenage and after a spell at Maidenhead United, played for Royston for six seasons making more than 250 appearances. He was part of the Crows team which won the Spartan South Midlands Football League Premier Division title in the 2011/12 season.
Jack and his family have already raised more than £7,000 towards their target of £10,000. To sponsor them go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RunToRemember
The Dementia Revolution is raising funds to power research at the UK Dementia Research Institute, the UK’s largest ever dementia research endeavour. The institute will see 700 researchers in six centres across the UK carrying out world-leading research into the diseases that cause dementia.
Nina Ziaullah, Dementia Revolution Campaign Manager, said: “Dementia is the biggest health threat facing society and there are currently no effective treatments to slow, prevent or cure it. Today, almost a million people are living with dementia in the UK.
“But dementia is not a lost cause. With the help of our amazing runners like Jack we can and will end it with research.
“On marathon day we will have the largest ever team of runners raising funds for dementia research. We can’t thank them enough for making a stand with us and joining the charge toward a cure.”
For further information about the Dementia Revolution, including how you can support the campaign by volunteering on marathon day, go to www.dementiarevolution.org
Jack and Tom talking about their reasons for supporting the Dementia Revolution – https://youtu.be/A9c_K0vwBf0
Jack is also among runners and celebrities featured in a film tackling the myths of dementia – https://youtu.be/HnChvBqGrpY