“She didn't recognise me and that distressed her” - Women's Running Magazine

“She didn’t recognise me and that distressed her”

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  September 10, 2015


Emily Coltman, from Brampton, Cumbria, will be heading to Strathclyde Park on Sunday to run in the WR10K Glasgow race, in memory of her grandmother.

When her grandmother, Reenie, was diagnosed with dementia, Emily and her family experienced the devastating impact of this cruel disease first hand. Now, Emily is passionate about finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

“Alzheimer’s is a condition that affects a whole family, not just one person,” says Emily. “I want to raise money to help fund research and a potential cure for Alzheimer’s so that no other families have to go through this.”

Emily, 37, is a Chartered Accountant. She first began to notices changes in her grandmother, Reenie (known more familiarly to her as “nanny”), as she reached her seventies and became progressively irrational. “She would insist on things like always having the TV on BBC 1,” explains Emily.  Reenie then began to become confused and forgetful, which started with forgetting tasks, such as not remembering to turn the gas off, and eventually lead to her failing to recognise her closest friends and family.

“It was a very tough time for my Mum,” explains Emily. “Mum found it very hard to see Nanny progressively not recognise her, though to have Nanny no longer worrying about everything was a relief – she couldn’t remember so she didn’t worry.”

For Emily, who was extremely close to her grandmother, this was very hard: “To have someone you love not recognise you is heartbreaking. The last time I saw her, five years before she died, she didn’t recognise me but knew she should, and that distressed her – she kept asking me, “Are you Emily?”

Emily explains that she spent a lot of her time with her grandmother as a child, playing games, sewing and knitting. Watching her deteriorate physically, as well as mentally, was also something the family found very painful to see. “It’s so hard to see someone not be able to look after themselves and their home. Nan was a very meticulous person before contracting Alzheimer’s and the disease changed that completely,” she says.

After losing her grandmother to the disease, Emily has since seen one of her dearest friends, Emma, lose her mother to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Determined to do all she can to save more families from going through this cruel experience, Emily has been working hard to fundraise for Alzheimer Scotland, and has been training seriously for this Sunday’s race.

Emily took up running at the beginning of 2014, and has since been hooked. “I run every other day, cycling through four different types of run; hill repetitions, a short run, speed intervals, and a longer run,” she says. The WR10K Glasgow race will be Emily’s fourth 10K, of which she is determined to raise as much money as possible to support a charity very close to her heart.

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