AN ALZHEIMER’s sufferer has defied his illness to raise almost £13,000 for cancer and dementia patients.
Cyclist Tony Garrood, 63, has devoted the last decade to raising money for others – despite being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s three years ago.
The retired Huddersfield University lecturer has taken part in a number of cycling challenges across the globe for Macmillan Cancer Care and, more recently, the Alzheimer’s Society.
Now, as his illness progresses, he is planning to cycle his last fundraising event when the Examiner Charity Challenge takes place on May 23.
The married father-of-four said: “I have given my pledge to the people who have done so much to support me that I won’t be doing any more after this.
“I am going to carry on supporting the charities, but in a smaller way.”
Tony, of Scholes, was just 60 when his daughter urged him to undergo tests for dementia. He said: “I knew I was struggling a bit with my memory and organising things, but my daughter is a medic and she obviously spotted something.
“It was pretty hard to hear I had early onset Alzheimer’s. It was a real blow.
“But you adapt and when you stop feeling sorry for yourself, you realise there is treatment to slow it down. It doesn’t mean the end of life. You can still do what you want to do.
“There is life after diagnosis of Alzheimer's.”
After completing a 10-day cycling challenge through Peru in 2006 for Macmillan, Tony had no intentions of slowing down.
He went on to peddle his way across 680km of the Great Wall of China for the charity in 2008 and even enjoyed a cycling holiday in Cuba.
Last year he cycled from London to Paris to raise £2,500 for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Tony added: “Awareness of the condition has progressed a lot. Years ago, no-one talked about it.
“My memory is the worst thing.
“I find I can just about do everything I want to do, but I need lists so I know what I’m supposed to be doing.
“It would be a struggle if I didn’t have that. I’m very lucky because my wife helps and supports me. We just have to be organised.”
Tony takes the dementia drug Reminyl to help slow down his illness.
And says he would encourage anyone showing symptoms of Alzheimer's to seek help early on.
“If you think you have a very short memory, go to your doctors and they will check you out,” he said.
“It is much better to know you have got something in the early stages because you can slow the ageing process.”
He will be setting up a fundraising page at www.justgiving.com.