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Thatcham woman runs more than 100km for Alzheimer's Research

Daughter honours mother suffering from dementia by fundraising

Thatcham woman runs more than 100km for Alzheimer's Research

A THATCHAM woman has so far raised more than £1,000 for a dementia charity by running more than 100km in honour of her mother.

Natalie Kannemeyer is taking part in Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Running Down Dementia, which encourages participants to raise £100 while running or walking 100km.

The mother-of-one took up the challenge in honour of her 80-year-old mother, Valerie Kannemeyer, who is living with mixed dementia, including vascular dementia.

Valerie led an exciting life; moving to Botswana to work with the British government shortly after the country gained its independence from the UK in 1966.

On her 42nd birthday her husband asked whether she would like 21 lions and they ended up raising more than 30 in a private game reserve, for 25 years.

Natalie Kannemeyer said: “Her time in Africa was so special. I’ve put pictures of her life in Botswana and the lions in a Book of Life, which I created for her as a ‘memory jogger’.

“The staff at the home have also put a picture of a lion on her door to try and remind her of those days. Unfortunately her dementia is very advanced. It’s horrible to see her like that.”

Mrs Kannemeyer, 45, who works as a team manager for Vodafone, said the phone company has donated an extra £350 to the cause on top of the almost £800 she has already raised.

“A colleague told me about the Running Down Dementia challenge. He knew about my mum and that I wanted to get fitter, and so it was just perfect for me,” she said.

“It’s great if you’re a novice, as you can do it bit by bit. My mum is my motivation, when I need to get out running for the challenge, I think of her and feel inspired.”

Mrs Kannemeyer has already run more than 120km ahead of the challenge, ending on October 31, but is heading for another 100km over 10 consecutive days in October.

Sporting events manager for Alzheimer’s Research UK, Kenneth Foreman, said: “We can’t thank Natalie enough for raising vital funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK through Running Down Dementia.

“There are 850,000 people in the UK with dementia, including nearly 2,000 in West Berkshire. Alzheimer’s Research UK is funding the most promising research into dementia. We couldn’t do it without supporters like Natalie.”

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