Two University of Worcester students have taken on a running challenge to raise money and awareness for people living with dementia.
Friends Theo Lawrance and Charlotte Leech, who both study Paramedic Science, aim to run 100 miles in 30 days in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society.
The first year students were inspired to help by their experiences working to support West Midlands Ambulance Service in patient transfer during the pandemic, which they have been doing since January.
“It’s also to raise awareness of people with dementia,” said Theo, 19, of Halifax, Yorkshire. “Since we have been on shifts a lot of the patients we come across have dementia or Alzheimer’s or a brain injury that impacts their memory. We see the impact it has on their friends and family. It’s a lot worse than people think it can be. It’s just so sad, I don’t think people are aware unless they’re in that situation. But the Alzheimer’s Society do a really good job of supporting them.”
Running together, but socially distanced, on planned routes around Worcester, they aim to average just over 5km a day.
The challenge, which finishes on Tuesday (March 23), came about through suggestions for fundraising online by the Alzheimer’s Society.
Both Charlotte and Theo have a certain level of fitness. Charlotte has played netball for her county and now plays for the University team and is a member of Worcester Rowing Club, alongside some 10km running in the past, while Theo does football refereeing, but neither of them have tackled such a long-term challenge before.
“We thought 50 miles in 30 days was too easy so we thought we’d push ourselves to 100,” said Charlotte, 20, of Little Sutton, Cheshire. “I just thought we’d sign up and give it our best shot. We’re just going to keep going and get the most we can for this cause. We often run down the river or on the racecourse and it’s nice for us to explore Worcester as we’re not from here.
“It’s been really good for mental health. It’s nice to have the motivation when you wake up and we’re more productive afterwards in our studies we find.”
They have already more than doubled their original target of £150, but just hope to do what they can to help the charity counter the effects of the pandemic that they have witnessed.
“A lot of the people we go out to, we’ll be the only people they will have spoken to since March,” added Theo. “The impact of Covid has been massive, but particularly for people with dementia. The amount of support is not as available now as it would normally be and people aren’t as able to see their families and have that social contact.”
Liz Davies-Ward, Head of the School of Allied Health and Community, said: “We’re really proud of our students for taking on this challenge alongside their studies to help such a worthy cause and doing something so positive to help others affected by the pandemic.”
To donate to the challenge visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/charlotte-theo-alzheimers