ROWER and Alzheimer’s sufferer Jamie Graham’s ability with the oars – has his supporters in awe! For the second year running, Jamie, diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s at just 59, rowed 25 miles to boost funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
With crowds of supporters cheering him on, Jamie was joined by a crew of veteran oarsmen for the Forget-Me-Not-Row, including two former Olympic rowers.
This year’s event is well on the way to meeting the target of raising £100,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK, breaking the 2010 record of £97,000 – the largest amount ever raised in a single sporting event for the UK’s leading dementia research charity.
Before his diagnosis in 2007, Jamie, from Dauntsey in Wiltshire, had a high-powered job in information technology. Since then his life has been turned upside down – he’s had to give up driving and can no longer use a computer, read or write.
Despite everything, his sense of humour remains firmly intact and he still rides his bike, enjoys long walks and plays tennis.
Jamie said: “What an amazing day! It was brilliant to get the blades flashing in the water again to raise even more money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.”
The 15-strong Forget-Me-Not-Row crew taking part in the Henley to Eton row included former Olympic rowers, Col Alexander Lindsay and Hugh Matheson and seven Oxbridge boat race competitors.
Jamie added: “My nephew Fergus Graham, a former Junior World Championship silver medallist, was on board too plus our first lady rower Jo Rogers – it was a snip for her as she’s rowed the English Channel.
“It’s dreadful to know there’s so little funding for research into Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. All the money we raised will go towards a specific research project, looking at the link between physical activity and Alzheimer’s. This is particularly significant for me as I find keeping fit and active really helps.
“I’ve been a keen oarsman since my school days and although there are many things I can’t do now and words sometimes fail me, rowing is one activity I can still take part in. I’m very lucky to have the continued encouragement of my wife Vicki and family and friends.”
Miranda Mays, community fundraising manager for Alzheimer’s Research UK, added: “We’ve made Jamie and Vicki Graham Champions of Alzheimer’s Research UK, in recognition of their outstanding and enduring support. We can’t thank them enough for their determination to help us beat dementia.”
To add to Jamie’s efforts to raise funds for crucial dementia research, donate online at www.forgetmenotrow.com or call the fundraising team at Alzheimer’s Research UK on 01223 843889.