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Carmel’s brave WHM run to repay support of Alzheimer’s Foyle Society

24 August 2017

Every runner in the 2,000 strong field for the 2017 Waterside Half Marathon will have their own motivations for taking to the start line on Sunday September 3rd but perhaps none of their goals are as personal as Carmel Lynch Bradley’s.

The keen triathlete took the decision to focus on running and train for the Derry City and Strabane District Council event earlier this year but the passing of her father Tony after a short illness less than two months ago has given the race a whole new dimension for her.

Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia were conditions the Derry woman and her family knew little about when her father was diagnosed just one year ago in September 2016 but the guidance and help they received from the Alzheimer’s Foyle Society proved critical in helping them understand and manage his condition.

Now Carmel wants to repay that support by running the race to raise funds for the local group.

“When Daddy was diagnosed, the Alzheimer’s Foyle Society were a massive help in educating our family on how best to deal with his condition and offering respite to my mammy who was his main carer,” she recalls.

“They held information nights where we were able to learn about what to expect and what support was available.

“A representative came out to our family home to explain what he was going through, how we should react to him and how we should deal with everyday tasks.

“We looked after Daddy at home with the help of carers but the training we received made it easier and natural to us right up until he passed away.

“Hopefully my fundraising efforts can play a small part in helping other families benefit from the free training and support we were so grateful for.”

Carmel originally began her preparation for the Waterside Half Marathon at the start of this year but her training took a back seat when her father’s health began to deteriorate over Easter.

The nature of Tony’s condition left him vulnerable to infections and after struggling to recover from a number of illnesses he passed away on July 9th 2017.

While running was far from her thoughts in the immediate aftermath of her father’s passing, with encouragement and support from her close friend Aoife Quigley, Carmel made the brave decision to rekindle her half marathon ambitions with just weeks to prepare for the event.

“We knew Daddy’s condition was worsening but it was still a huge shock for us when he died,” Carmel explained.

“After he passed away I had no interest in running but to be fair to my friend Aoife she gave me the push to get back at it.

“I hadn’t trained for three months but the more I went back out, the more I began to enjoy it and it was a good distraction for me.

“I decided that I would like to go ahead with the Waterside Half Marathon and use the opportunity to raise some money and awareness for Alzheimer’s sufferers.

“I have been delighted with the support I’ve received so far with some people I don’t even know donating money. All the donations, no matter how big or small are sincerely appreciated.

“I have trained with Aoife before for triathlons and she has kept me motivated, it has been a tough time but having something to focus on and being able to do something in my Daddy’s memory has helped a lot.”

Anyone who wishes to sponsor Carmel Lynch Bradley can do so through her Just Giving page Carmel’s Waterside Half Marathon at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/carmellynch14.

Full details about the Waterside Half Marathon are available at www.derrystrabane.com/halfmarathon.