Anne’s half-marathon in grandparents’ honour raises over £1,400 for Alzheimer’s charity

A keen runner has completed a half marathon in honour of her grandparents, while raising funds for others suffering the same terrible illness. 

Anne Leask, 25, had been due to take part in the Great North Run on 13th September, but organised her own solo outing in Shetland on Saturday after learning of its cancellation due to Covid-19. 

She said she had been “overwhelmed” by the generosity of friends and family, who have so far donated more than £1,400 to Alzheimer’s Society – almost trebling her initial target. 

Having seen three of her grandparents deteriorate after being diagnosed with the disorder, Anne said she wanted to help others struggling with its brutal effects. 

“It can be so difficult for the families,” she said. 

“It’s so horrible to watch your loved ones forget who they are and who you are. 

“So I really wanted to raise money for others who’ve been affected by it.”

Anne set off from Nesting on Saturday afternoon and arrived in Scalloway to  the cheers of her family  and friends 2hrs 12mins later. 

Anne was cheered on by supporters along the route.
Anne was cheered on by supporters along the route.

The route had been selected because of its connection with her grandparents. 

Anne’s grandmother, Rhoda Leask, was born in Gletness, South Nesting; while her grandparents Billy and Cissie Garson lived in Scalloway. 

Rhoda was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in her 80s and while Anne says she is “still going strong” at the age of 96, her memory has been badly affected by the disease. 

Billy was diagnosed with the disease soon after he retired in his 60s and deteriorated rapidly. 

Anne said he had a “terrible life” in the years after his diagnosis, up until his death 15 years later. 

“He just vegetated; it was so sad to see,” she added. 

Cissie also suffered with the disease, as well as vascular dementia, and “went rapidly downhill”.

Anne, who lives in Gulberwick with her partner Sam Maver, said she wanted to complete the marathon as a way of honouring her grandparents, while also supporting the charity in its vital work. 

Sam’s grandmother Inga Thomson, also suffers from Alzheimer’s and resides in a Shetland care home.

“I really sympathise with anyone who has a family member suffering with Alzheimer’s,” Anne said. 

“I thought that if I can just help, even a little bit, it will make it all worthwhile.”

Anne completed the half-marathon in 2hrs 12mins. 
Anne completed the half-marathon in 2hrs 12mins. 

Anne said she had always been keen on keeping fit but her interest in running had taken off during lockdown. 

“I’ve been clocking up the miles and I hope to keep it up,” she said.

Saturday’s half-marathon was Anne’s first fundraiser for Alzheimer’s Society but she said she would like to do more to help in the future. 

To donate visit  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/greatnorthrun-anneleask

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