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Thurston/Bury St Edmunds: Raising the profile of Lewy Body dementia is key for marathon runner Leanne Griffiths

11:00 05 April 2014

Leanne Griffiths running the Edinburgh Marathon in 2012.

Leanne Griffiths running the Edinburgh Marathon in 2012.


A former Thurston Community College student is preparing to face the London Marathon next week to raise awareness of a specific type of dementia after her granddad was diagnosed with the illness.

Leanne Griffiths, 27, originally from Thurston, is running the Virgin Money London Marathon on April 13 in aid of the Lewy Body Society, which funds research into Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB).

Mrs Griffiths’ grandfather Brian Yallop, 76, who is one of the founding members of the Over-60s club on Bury St Edmunds’ Howard estate, was diagnosed with the illness in early 2013.

Symptoms of DLB include visual hallucinations and motor difficulties. It can easily be mistaken for Alzheimer’s disease or for Parkinson’s disease with dementia.

Mrs Griffiths, who is programme director for the MSc in Sport Rehabilitation at St Mary’s University in Twickenham, said raising awareness of the illness was her primary goal in undertaking the marathon for the Lewy Body Society. She said: “The reason I wanted to run the marathon was to raise awareness so treatment isn’t delayed for other families like it has been with ours.”

Mrs Griffiths, who ran the Edinburgh Marathon in 2012, said as part of her training she has been running three or four times a week and she had completed one 20-mile run.

“It’s quite lonely I would say once you get into the longer miles. You kind of do it on your own as no-one wants to do a 20-mile run with you,” she said.

She said she had already raised more than £1,000, adding she had been “overwhelmed” by people’s generosity.

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