[K]endal schoolboy Lucas Baldwin has a good excuse to put his feel up after running a mile a day for 100 days to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Lucas, who has recently celebrated his sixth birthday, was originally inspired to take up the challenge as part of an initiative at his school, Heron Hill.
But when he reached the halfway stage, his mum, Lesley Archer-Baldwin, suggested he use the challenge to raise money for charity and Lucas chose Alzheimer’s Research UK because his grandmother is battling the disease.
Determined Lucas, who ran in all weathers to finish his challenge, completed his last mile around the school grounds on the final day of term dressed as Captain America. So far, he has raised a staggering £1,200 for dementia research, including a £600 donation from Lakeland, where his mum works.
Lesley, 37, from Kendal, said: “I didn’t think for one minute he’d keep it up and do it every day for 100 school days. But every morning he got to school early to do it. I thought he’d try to cry off but he didn’t.
“He put so much effort in. It would be pouring down, blowing a gale, freezing, but he never once said he didn’t want to do it.
“Lucas was also diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes last year. To do that amount of exercise every day requires lots of adjustments with his insulin and food, but it never got in the way and the exercise really helps with diabetes.
“At around the halfway stage to spur him on, I said maybe he’d like to do it for charity. He instantly said he wanted to raise money to help nana and it spiralled from there.”
To donate go to Lucas’s fundraising page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lesley-archer-baldwin
Lucas’s grandmother and Lesley’s mum, Sue Archer, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s around five years ago, aged only 59.
Although often thought of as a disease of the elderly, around four percent of people with Alzheimer’s are under 65. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of early-onset dementia. Symptoms can include memory problems, confusion, changes in personality and behaviour, and language and visual problems.
Lesley said: “She does enjoy life still although it’s very hard for her. She still gets out and goes out with her friends.
“She knows her family and very close friends instantly – that’s not hit yet.
“She can’t cook for herself, can’t dress herself very well, can’t brush her teeth, all the things that you’ve just learnt over the years. That wiring has gone.”
Despite her symptoms, Sue has an excellent relationship with Lucas.
Lesley said: “The grandkids are her world. She can talk about them until the cows come home.
“Lucas doesn’t really get what is going on with her, he just says her brain doesn’t work properly. But he’s very good with her. He just gives her cuddles and kisses as that’s what she responds so well to. She doesn’t really listen and take in what he’s saying, but he talks to her and she talks to him.”
Gillian Edwards, Regional Fundraising Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We are delighted Lucas chose to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK from his remarkable challenge in honour of his nana. For someone so young to put in so much effort and dedication is absolutely amazing.
“We can’t thank Lucas enough for raising vital funds for dementia research and supporting the work we do to bring about the first life-changing dementia treatment by 2025.”
Gillian will be holding a meeting for anyone interested in forming and being part of a voluntary Alzheimer’s Research UK South Lakes Fundraising Group on Saturday 23 September, 10.00am, at the Langdale Chase Hotel, Ambleside Road, Windermere LA23 1LW. If you would like to attend please contact Gillian on 07500 222 863 or email [email protected].
Lucas’s challenge is like Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Running Down Dementia initiative, where supporters are challenged to run 100km and raise £100. Go to www.runningdowndementia.org for more information.