St Helens man walks 100km in 24-hours in memory of his dad

Michael Wood from St Helens walked an amazing 100km in 24-hours on what would have been his dad’s 78th birthday.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 9:54 am
Michael Wood (right) and his friend AJ Mussell during the 24-hour 'Walk for Woodsy'

Jeff Wood, who was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2017, sadly passed-away last December.

Michael and his sister Louise, who lives in Kent, have set themselves a fund-raising target of £10,000 for Alzheimer’s Society, in his memory.

And the pair are well on their way to reaching this goal, with their current total standing at £3,500.

Despite heavy wind and rain, Michael smashed his target of covering 78km in 24 hours.

"It was so wet and my trainers were soaking, but luckily my wife met me at 4pm with a spare pair and it didn';t rain any more after that," he said.

"I’m still in a euphoric state at the minute and riding on the high of what the team helped me achieve.

"Walking 24 hours in awful weather conditions was a real challenge, but I managed to cover 100.66km, or 62.5 miles in old money."

Jeff was never far from Michael’s thoughts while he completed his 24-hour challenge.

"At one point in the day I was walking along and there was a gorgeous red sunset. It brought back memories of dad and the emotion of everything just hit me. I know he’d be really proud," he said.

Michael was accompanied and supported on parts of his challenge by his wife Michelle Wood and close friends AJ Mussell, Laura and Chris Brennan, Ben Sharratt, Aaron Moon and Paul Duffy who helped keep his spirits up.

His ‘Walk for Woodsy’, which was socially distanced and within current coronavirus restrictions, aimed to raise both money and awareness.

“As my dad’s dementia progressed he often used to go walking about,” he explained.

“Luckily the people in his village, Golden Green, kept an eye out for him and although he sometimes walked on busy roads with no footpaths he thankfully came to no harm."

Jeff was diagnosed with mixed vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s in 2017.

“It turned our world upside down and it was a contributing factor to the loss of a great man with a heart of gold,” said Michael.

Michael and Louise decided to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society because of the help and support the family received while Jeff was living with dementia.

“Alzheimer’s Society helped us with practical things like putting paperwork together and letting us know what type of support we could apply for,” said Michael.

“There was also a befriending service which was great. It got him out socialising for an additional three hours each week and we loved that it helped improve his confidence and self-esteem.”

Michael and Louise have a year-long programme of fund-raising events planned to reach their £10,000 target including a ‘North Coast 500’ four-day bike ride in Scotland in April, the Trek 26 Alzheimer’s Society fund-raising event in London in June, and the South West ‘Coast to Coast Challenge’ in July, with more events to be confirmed.

And Michael has just received confirmation that he will be running the London Marathon for Alzheimer's Society on October 3, 2021.

Linzi Stewart, Alzheimer’s Society Community Fund-raiser for Cheshire, paid tribute to Michael and Louise for their huge fund-raising efforts.

“We are extremely grateful for all the time and effort Michael and Louise have put into raising money for Alzheimer’s Society, particularly at what is such a challenging time.

"The coronavirus pandemic has been devastating for families in Merseyside and across the UK.

"People affected by dementia need us now more than ever, but the pandemic has hit us hard financially, despite an unprecedented demand for our services.

"The money raised by Michael and Louise will help Alzheimer’s Society reach and support more people through our vital services, like our Dementia Connect support line, which has been used almost three million times in the UK since March 2020.

"We are in awe of supporters like them whose dedication to fund-raising for Alzheimer’s Society ensures that we are able to support those who need it most during this difficult period."

If you would like to sponsor Michael and Louise please go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/challenge4dementiaTo support Alzheimer’s Society, why not get involved with Dementia Action Week (May 17-23,2021). For more information, and for advice about dementia, please visit Alzheimer’s Society’s