With two days to go until this year’s London Marathon, some first-time participants are starting to feel the nerves.
Leanne Griffiths, 27, and Nicholas Ivory, 20, are preparing to run in Sunday’s 26.2-mile event, inspired by their grandparents’ courage.
A former Thurston Community College student, Mrs Griffiths will be among the first few people to have ever run the marathon in aid of The Lewy Body Society, while Mr Ivory will be running in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
Mrs Griffiths hopes her involvement will help raise awareness of Lewy Body Dementia, which her grandfather, 76-year-old Brian Yallop – one of three founding members of the Bury St Edmunds Howard Estate’s over-60s club – was diagnosed with last year.
The condition is the second most common neuro-degenerative dementia and is widely under-diagnosed, which often delays treatment.
Mrs Griffiths said: “It took ages to diagnose him, which resulted in a long hospital stay, which affected his condition and the emotional state of our family.”
Ernie Broom, a fellow founding member of the over-60s club, has collected more than £300 from members as sponsorship for Mrs Griffiths since last week.
“It’s something really special and everybody wanted to make their own contributions,” he said.
Cecilia Yardley, of The Lewy Body Society, said: “We are enormously grateful to Leanne for taking on the challenge of the London Marathon.
“Through her efforts at raising awareness, more people will hear of Lewy Body Dementia, which is common but poorly recognised. The more people who know about it, the quicker people affected can get the help they need.”
Mr Ivory, a former Culford School pupil, will be running the race in memory of his Chevington grandmother, Audrey Ivory, who lost her battle with cancer in 2011.
She was his guardian and like a second mother to him.
He said: “Audrey, or as I called her ‘G’, was best grandma you could ever ask for – she was always there for my sister Beth and I. She would always have a smile on her face and all of the memories I have of her are happy for as long as I can remember.”
Of Sunday’s event, he said: “I’m a bit nervous, but excited – it will be a really fun day.”
To sponsor Nick, go to www.justgiving.com/nicholas_ivory
To donate to Leanne’s cause, go to www.justgiving.com/Leanne-Griffiths