News Stories – Ellie runs for Alzheimer’s as mother, Michelle, battles the disease

Ellie Douglas is set to run 10km in The Age Run Melbourne on July 21st at Federation Square to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Australia.

Miss Douglas will be running in support of her mother Michelle, who five years ago at 58 was diagnosed with what is referred to as Younger Onset Dementia. This type of dementia affects people generally in the 30-60 years age bracket.

Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia affecting the brain, resulting in impaired memory, thinking and behaviour.

Unfortunately Michelle will not be able to attend the event to support her daughter; she is currently living at a nursing home as she is in need of a high level of care. There is little she can still do on her own and is in constant need of assistance of the things we take for granted such as eating, showering, getting dressed, sitting down or standing up.

The family first noticed the signs of the disease when Michelle started forgetting little things such as where she put her glasses or her keys. The forgetfulness gradually escalated into more major problems such as not remembering how to do her job she worked at for 10 years or repeating the same thing over and over again. The situation has brought together and torn apart her family, including Michelle’s children and husband, bringing the siblings together to rely on each other as their mother continually adapts to her declining life. The family goes with the flow and adapts to the changes affecting their loved one.

Presented by People’s Choice, The Age Melbourne Run is a charity event which allows competitors to raise funds for a charity or cause of their choice. So far, the event has raised over $4.7 million dollars for 400 charities over five years the organisers are hoping this year an additional $2.5 million can be raised. The current tally stands at a whopping $1.5 million.

Events presented on the day are the 3km Marvel kids race where kids can dress up as their favourite superhero, the 5km walk or run, the 10km run and the Brooks half-marathon. Miss Douglas will be competing in the 10km run event. Additional information about the event can be found here.

With over $1.5 million dollars already raised across all competitors, Miss Douglas, at the time of writing this article, is currently in the top 10 ranking of individual fundraisers. She initially expected to raise only $1000, but through the generosity of family and friend, has so far succeeded in raising $3606.

“I gradually raised the amount as so many unexpected people donated and everyone has been beyond generous.” Miss Douglas said.

“I think my mum would be proud if she understood the monetary amount that has been raised.” Miss Douglas continued.

The money raised for Alzheimer’s Australia will go towards support for Alzheimer’s sufferers, carers, programs and research into prevention of the disease. Miss Douglas picked the organisation to raise funds for because the staff have been compassionate and kind and very helpful towards the Douglas family in providing the family with workshops to help deal with the situation.

According to Alzheimer’s Australia there are more than 36 million individuals worldwide suffering from dementia with 320,000 Australians suffering from the disease. There is currently no cure for the disease and the damage it causes to ones brain is irreversible, however there are several medications available that can assist in stabilising and/or slowing down the decline of a sufferers memory and thinking abilities.

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