A runner has raised more than £12,000 for dementia research after launching his half marathon fundraising page the same day his dad passed away.
Steve Doyle, from Southwater, is one of around 300 people signed up to run the inaugural London Landmarks Half Marathon on March 25 for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
The 41-year-old father-of-three was inspired to sign up for the race as his father, David Doyle, had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. However, when his dad died aged 67 in November, Steve decided to launch his fundraising page earlier than planned and had a remarkable response.
Many of David’s friends and former work colleagues made donations, including a significant donation from eXmoor Pharma Concepts, a Bristol-based company he co-founded just a few years before he had to retire early due to his symptoms.
Steve, the chief commercial officer for an online advertising company, said: “I’m very pleased to have raised so much money for dementia research, but it’s not really down to anything I’ve done in particular. It’s a reflection of the high esteem in which my father was held.
“He was a biochemical engineer and started a company with some people he worked with in a previous role. He had to retire about three years after setting up the company, but it has gone from strength to strength since.”
David was diagnosed in 2010 aged 60, although he and his family first started noticing symptoms a few years before.
Steve said: “The first signs something was wrong was when he started to make mistakes at work. It’s not the sort of profession where errors were possible as it involved the engineering to start the building of multi-million-pound factories.
“The main symptom was just increasing forgetfulness until he got to the point where he stopped making any sense at all.
“A stiff upper lip was very much his way of dealing with things. He didn’t complain or moan about it or get too upset publicly. He was orphaned at the age of 13 when his parents died in a plane crash, so he’d had a traumatic experience which I think helped give him strength to deal with the diagnosis.”
David was also a senior visiting lecturer at University College London and after he was diagnosed he volunteered for research studies at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.
Steve, whose sister Jenny Brown is also running the London Landmarks Half Marathon, said: “My dad was very passionate about research and understood how vital it is to ensure other people in the future won’t have to go through what he went through. I’m delighted to be running for Alzheimer’s Research UK to support his legacy.”
The London Landmarks Half Marathon is a new central London run and is the only half marathon to go through both the City of London and City of Westminster. Runners will start on Pall Mall, finish by Downing Street and have fabulous views of London’s most iconic landmarks including Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral, Nelson’s Column, the Gherkin, the Shard, the Tower of London and the London Eye.
Alzheimer’s Research UK is one of the main charity partners for the event and will be bringing a large group of volunteers to cheer on the runners, with special activities planned at Cheapside. The cheer station will pay homage to London’s much-loved markets with traditional stalls and volunteers dressed as stallholders handing out oranges as part of the charity’s #sharetheorange campaign.
Kenneth Foreman, senior sporting events manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Steve and his dad’s story shows the devastating effect dementia can have on a family.
“We have been blown away by the amount he has raised and these vital funds will power world-class dementia research projects and help bring an end to the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.”
To sponsor Steve go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/runforDJD
For information about raising money for Alzheimer’s Research UK, go to www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/support-us/fundraise/events