Man with a rare form of dementia is taking on Kew Gardens 10K with his daughter

this man suffers from a rare form of dementia running a 10K

Peter Mumford, who suffers from a rare form of dementia that affects his vision, is running a 10K with his daughter this weekend to raise money for pioneering research. Mumford, from Herefordshire, suffers from posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) and is taking on the Kew Gardens 10K as part of the Richmond RUNFEST this Saturday, with his daughter Sophie Hancox, raising money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Related: Olympian and top marathon runner Ron Hill reveals dementia diagnosis 

PCA is a rare variant of Alzheimer’s disease, that damages the part of the brain that makes sense of what the eyes are seeing. Those living with it usually experience problems with their vision, such as blurred vision, light sensitivity and issues with colour, depth and distance perception.

Mumford, aged 58, turned to running when it was no longer safe for him to cycle, and his vision made it too difficult to play golf. He’s been training for the 10K race with the help of his daughter, who visits him at weekends and will take on the half marathon event the next day.

Mumford said: “I’ve always kept myself fit and want to continue. Running is a way for me to maintain my independence. I used to compete in time-trials with Hereford Wheelers but I can’t anymore as I have to be so careful on roads. I also played golf regularly, but I now struggle to see the ball. I can walk right over my ball on the fairway and not see it and once on the green I putted the ball to a leaf mistaking it for the hole.

“Running does have challenges for me. For example, closed drains can look like they are open. It took me a long time to convince myself that they are flat and I can step on them. I run on a cycle track that I know well, as it’s safer for me. I have to be very careful with my footing.”

this man suffers from a rare form of dementia and is running a 10k

Mumford originally went to his optician when he first noticed problems with his vision, before an MRI scan revealed he had PCA. He said: “One of the first problems I noticed was when driving I found car headlights appeared to be a lot brighter, like flares, and they would blind me.

“When I found out I had a form of dementia it was a shock. I didn’t know anything about PCA and you don’t expect to have dementia at my age. But I didn’t get too upset, I decided to make the most of things and just got on with it. One of the hardest things for me was having to give up work. I’ve always worked in car body shops, as a paint-sprayer, but I found I was missing bits and struggling to see the lines.”

To find out more about the duo’s efforts and to donate money to Alzheimer’s Research, take a look at their JustGiving page here.

Julia Sobik, Senior Sporting Events & Partnerships Manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK said: “Peter’s story is a powerful challenge to the prevailing misconception that dementia is just forgetfulness in old age. We can’t thank Peter and Sophie enough for helping to raise awareness of PCA and for fundraising to support our scientists’ pioneering research into the many complex forms of dementia.

“The vital funds they and our other runners at the Richmond RUNFEST raise will help us in our mission to bring an end to the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.”

For more information on future fundraising events for Alzheimer’s Research UK, including their work as charity of the year for the London Marathon 2019 and how you can run with them, head to www.alzheimersresearchuk.org