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Widower of former York native/schoolgirl visits city as part of a 100k running challenge for dementia research in memory of late wife

Monday, August 1st, 2022 3:47pm

By Barbara Constable

Dr John Hirst's wife, Patricia, was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia ten years ago and died from the form of early onset dementia five years later on 22nd July 2017 at just 66 years of age

Dr John Hirst's wife, Patricia, was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia ten years ago and died from the form of early onset dementia five years later on 22nd July 2017 at just 66 years of age.  In memory of her he will be taking on a challenge of running five 10k events plus ten 5k parkruns.  On Sunday 7th August he will be completing the York 10k passing her former school (Bar Convent) and the church where they married in 1978 (St Wilfrid's).  Pat was born in the city and grew up there before going on to train as a nurse at the LGI in Leeds.

John said: “Pat was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia in 2012, 18 months after her retirement as a nurse in the NHS. Following her diagnosis her decline was rapid resulting in loss of speech, an inability to swallow and for the final months she was forced to use a wheelchair. Throughout her ordeal she was always able to recognise us all and was aware until very close to the end of her life.”

“Since her diagnosis I have been helping to raise awareness of early onset dementia and also to raise funds for Alzheimer's Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity dedicated to understanding the causes, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dementia.”

Sara Hoxhaj, North East Regional Fundraising Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Dementia affects a significant proportion of the population – one in three people over 65 in the UK will die with some form of the condition.

“That is why we are determined to help scientists discover new treatments and find ways of tackling the diseases that cause dementia, but we can’t do this without the support of our wonderful fundraisers.”

John is aiming to raise £500 to help fund vital dementia research in the North East, to sponsor him visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/50-50challenges where he will be blogging about each run.

People can take on their own running challenge for Alzheimer’s Research UK by signing up for Running Down Dementia. Participants are challenged to run 100km, 300km or a distance of their choice. Go to https://run.thetreblechallenge.org/

Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are the leading cause of death in the UK.  Mortality rates for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have increased over the last decade.  In contrast, the other top four leading causes of death in 2017 – ischaemic heart diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, chronic lower respiratory diseases and lung cancer – have all seen falling mortality rates in the last 15 years.

15.9% of women died due to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in 2019 in the UK. It was the leading cause of death for women.  8.8% of men died due to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in 2019 in the UK. It was the second leading cause of death for men.

For further information about Alzheimer’s Research UK, or to find out more about fundraising for the charity, Call 0300 111 5333 or email fundraising@alzheimersresearchuk.org

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