Vicki Fleming first got into running after being inspired by her mum’s passion for the sport. Now she’s taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon in honour of her mum who has a rare form of dementia.
Vicki’s mum Jo was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2012 aged 58 after having problems with her short-term memory. But when it was noticed that problems with her sight had become her most prominent symptom her diagnosis was changed to posterior cortical atrophy (PCA).
PCA is a rare form of dementia that causes damage to the part of the brain that make sense of what our eyes are seeing.
Jo was a dedicated runner having taken up the sport a few years before her diagnosis. She was a regular at Bramhall parkrun.
Despite the challenges caused by the increasing problems with her vision and perception, she continued to run until 2018 when after injuring herself in a fall she had to stop as it was no longer safe.
Vicki said: “One memory that is particularly poignant is running with my mum at the Great Manchester 10k Run in 2013. She was so determined, loved the support she got and was proud of her finish time.
“That was only six and a half years ago, but now she’s completely lost her independence.
“She’s effectively blind. She struggles to dress herself, wash and find her way around her home. And because her memory isn’t that bad, she’s all too aware of the things she’s no longer able to do.
“It’s so tough for my dad, who is her full-time carer, as she’s totally reliant on him and can’t be left on her own.”
Vicki is among 320 people taking on the London Marathon on April 26 for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
The 41-year-old said: “I took up running around eight years ago. I wanted to get fit and was inspired by the positive impact running had had on my mum.
“Now I’m training for the biggest run of my life and it means so much to be doing it to support a cause that is so important to me.
“I know it’s too late for my mum, but I’m determined to support dementia research to help find treatments so other people don’t have to go through what we are going through.”
You can sponsor Vicki here.
If you have your own place in the London Marathon, such as through the ballot or a good-for-age-place, we’d love you to join Vicki and run for parkrun UK’s official charity partner.
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