Sophie Ellis, a French teacher at Greenhead College in Huddersfield, is tackling her first ever half-marathon to raise awareness of Lewy body dementia, in memory of her grandad who had the disease.
Sophie’s grandad Mike Ellis died in July aged 83, having been diagnosed with the condition 4 years previously, and having had dementia symptoms for 6 years prior to that. Mike and his wife Brenda celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary earlier this year.
Sophie, 24, started running last October and has completed a 5km and 10km race, but has never tackled the 13.1 miles of a half-marathon.
Caring for Sophie’s grandfather put the family under huge pressure for a number of years. Sophie’s aunt and uncle moved in with her grandparents, but all the family helped out as they wanted to avoid him going in to residential care.
Speaking ahead of the Great North Run, Sophie said:
“I wanted to do something in my grandad’s memory to raise awareness of Lewy body dementia. No-one has ever heard of it, and we hadn’t until my grandad was diagnosed, but it affects thousands of families across the country. I want to help the Lewy Body Society fund research into the disease so that other people don’t suffer so much in future.
“Caring for someone with dementia can be so tough. Towards the end my grandad didn’t know who I was, which was upsetting. My gran is so proud of me for doing the Great North Run and helping raise awareness of Lewy body dementia.”
Sophie’s fundraising page can be found here.