A little unusually, I am writing this post not as a wife, mother or historian, but rather as a daughter.
Last year I wrote a post about the medical issues facing members of my family in which I did not identify the actual people involved or their relationship to me. Since then, things have moved on and I now feel it is right to make public the fact that two of the three people mentioned in that post are, in fact, my parents. My father suffers from Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), with a number of related and exacerbated physical conditions. My mother recently found out that the ampullary cancer for which she received treatment for most of last year has returned to her lungs. These illnesses are very different but share two similarities: 1) they are rare (in my mother’s case extremely rare) forms of wider conditions (dementia and cancer respectively and 2) while they can be controlled to a greater or lesser extent, neither is now curable.
So why go public now? Because in this post I am asking for your help. In this difficult period, where these illnesses, and my distance from my parents who both live in the US, have added to a number of other stresses affecting my life, one of the few things that have kept me sane is running. I started running seriously two years ago. Last year I ran the Leeds 10k to prove to myself that I could do it. This year I am running the Leeds Half Marathon in aid of Cancer Research UK and Alzheimer’s Research UK. While there is nothing that can be done at this stage to cure either of my parents, I hope the money I raise for research will, in some small way, contribute to better understanding and treatments to alleviate these devastating conditions. Turning the relative calm I have found in my morning runs to practical purpose is the very least I can do in the circumstances.
I know we all have many claims on our purses, and many calls from charities for support. If you can spare even a very little to support my fundraising efforts by clicking on the link below, I will be enormously grateful.