A COMPASSIONATE Wall Heath fundraiser is set to pull on his running shoes to raise money for a cause close to his best friend's heart.
Iain Gillett, aged 25, will take part in the Silverstone Half Marathon on Sunday (March 2) to boost funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
He signed up for the 13.1 mile race around the iconic motor racing circuit after his best friend, Hannah Stevens' grandmother, Elsie Taylor, was diagnosed with vascular dementia last year.
The 84-year-old now needs round-the-clock care and now lives in a care home.
Mr Gillett said: “It’s been heartbreaking to see the effect Elsie’s diagnosis has had on Hannah and her family. I want them all to know that I am fully supporting their battle by raising awareness and vital funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
“Knowing I’m running to support Hannah and her family will really spur me on when the going gets tough.”
When not watching his beloved Aston Villa play, Mr Gillett works as a primary school sports co-ordinator with the children’s charity Believe to Achieve.
He said he hopes to raise around £500 and added: “Training’s going well and I’m just taking it easy now in the lead-up to the race to avoid any injuries. I’ve been off alcohol for two months in preparation for it so I feel ready and can’t wait until race day.”
Miss Stevens, aged 21, said: “I couldn’t be more proud of Iain for running the Silverstone Half Marathon to support me, my nan and my family.
The third year forensic psychology student added: “Nan had a bad fall last year and broke her pelvis. After a long stay in hospital she was moved to a care home where she’s been for about a year now. She was diagnosed with vascular dementia in September last year. Sometimes she can be fine, other times she can become very confused and forgetful.
“Since her diagnosis we’ve learnt just how desperately underfunded dementia research is.
"Knowing Iain is supporting my nan and thousands others like her across the UK is truly amazing and we can’t thank him enough.”
Jodie Vaughan, community fundraising manager for the charity, said: “Every £20 he raises will pay for another hour of pioneering dementia research, bringing us closer to finding ways to diagnose, prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
“There are hundreds of thousands of people across the UK living with dementia today, including over 3,400 people in Dudley.
"Dementia poses one of the greatest threats to public health now and in the future. Research is the only answer but funding still lags far behind other serious diseases. We rely on wonderful supporters like Iain to fund our world-class research.”