Stevenage and Biggleswade family ravaged by early-onset dementia are determined to fight back

PUBLISHED: 08:30 24 October 2018 | UPDATED: 09:54 29 October 2018

Tom Bradshaw, Carli Pirie and Jack Bradshaw each have a 50 per cent chance of developing early-onset dementia. Picture courtesy of Carli Pirie.

Tom Bradshaw, Carli Pirie and Jack Bradshaw each have a 50 per cent chance of developing early-onset dementia. Picture courtesy of Carli Pirie.

Archant

A family whose lives have been shattered by early-onset dementia are determined to raise awareness and funds to help battle this devastating disease.

Carli Pirie, who lives in Biggleswade, and her cousins Jack and Tom Bradshaw, who live in Stevenage, all have a 50 per cent chance of inheriting early-onset Alzheimer’s due to a faulty gene which runs in their family.

Their grandmother was diagnosed with the disease at just 48, and both their mums were diagnosed when they were 50.

Carli’s mum, now 57, lives in a nursing home and is now in the late stages of dementia.

Along with Tom’s wife Jaymie Bradshaw and Carli’s partner Alex Robertson-Cox, Carli, Jack and Tom have been chosen out of thousands to run the Virgin London Marathon in April as part of the Dementia Revolution’s official team.

The Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK have created the Dementia Revolution to power groundbreaking research at the UK Dementia Research Institute.

Carli, 30, said: “Doctors have told us that, if you have got this gene, just live your life. You can exercise and do other things, but it’s going to hit you anyway.

“If I’ve got the gene, my 10-year-old daughter Olivia has a 50 per cent chance of inheriting it.

“It is our passion to raise awareness and fund research to protect other family members, us and especially our children.”

The five-strong team will be running alongside Scott Mitchell, the wife of actress Barbara Windsor, who revealed her own Alzheimer’s diagnosis earlier this year.

Jack said: “The assumption is dementia only affects old people, but we want to raise awareness that it can affect anyone.

Tom added: “We also want to raise funds for research to hopefully slow the disease down, so we can have more time with our loved ones.”

There is a test to find out if you carry the defective gene, but neither Carli, Jack or Tom have had it done.

Tom said: “It’s a difficult decision to make. I have a wife and children to think about.”

The family hope to raise £10,000, so have also organised a fundraising disco and karaoke night at Stevenage Football Club’s Broadhall Suite from 7.30pm on November 2.

Tickets are £5 for adults and £2.50 for children.

To sponsor the family, or pay for tickets, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RunToRemember

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