A grandmother is gearing up to celebrate her 70th birthday by cycling from her home in Ewhurst to Land’s End in Cornwall.
Carol Franklin-Adams will set off on her 350-mile challenge on Tuesday (May 6) boost funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK and she aims to complete it within two weeks.
The challenge has been inspired by Carol’s husband Patrick who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s ten years ago, at the age of 59.
The determined grandmother is no stranger to energetic fundraising pursuits. She cycled from Surrey to John O’Groats to mark her 60th birthday and completed a 100 mile hike along the South Downs Way in 2011.
Since Patrick’s diagnosis, the couple have raised over £100,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK and taken part in radio and TV interviews to raise awareness about the daily reality of living with Alzheimer’s disease. They have been made Champions of the charity in recognition of their outstanding support.
Carol, who has four children and 12 grandchildren, explained her motivation for taking on this cycling challenge and supporting the UK’s leading dementia research charity:
“My family think I’m mad, but I’m determined to cycle to Land’s End to raise money towards Alzheimer’s Research UK’s vital work to find the new treatments so urgently needed.
“I’ll be cycling on my own but my good friend of 45 years, Jill Thorp, will be following in a support car, bringing me lunch and snacks and encouraging me all the way. Jill’s been wonderful, working out the route and accommodation with friends and at guest houses. I couldn’t do the journey without her.
“Patrick’s diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s came after months of unexplained forgetfulness and confusion. Although it was a shock, it was a relief to know what was wrong. He had to give up his job as an insurance broker in London and over the years has experienced a gradual mental decline. But the one thing he can still enjoy is a round of golf. Sometimes he turns up at the course without his shoes or his clubs but everyone there looks after him.
“I’ve bought myself a super light road bike and have been cycling round the local villages most days to get in training. I know it’s going to be jolly hard work cycling to Cornwall, especially pedalling uphill, but it will be so worthwhile knowing the money raised will help Alzheimer’s Research UK defeat this devastating disease.”
Jodie Vaughan, community fundraising manager for Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We can’t thank Carol enough for taking on this exhausting birthday challenge and we wish her every success with her epic cycle ride. A big thank you also goes to Carol’s friend Jill for supporting her all the way to Land’s End.
“The £100,000 Carol and Patrick have raised for our world-class research over the past six years is incredible. Their amazing efforts are bringing us closer to finding ways to diagnose, prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Their enduring support and enthusiasm is hugely appreciated.
“There are hundreds of thousands of people across the UK living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias today, including over 14,500 people in Surrey. Dementia poses one of the greatest threats to public health now and in the future yet funding for research still lags far behind other serious diseases. We rely on our wonderful supporters like Carol and Patrick to fund our world-class research.”
For more information about Alzheimer’s Research UK call 0300 111 5555 or visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org
If you would like to sponsor Carol for her challenge go to www.justgiving.com/Carol-Franklin-Adams