A Folkestone man is taking on a unique skateboarding challenge to raise cash for an Alzheimer’s charity after his grandmother was diagnosed with the disease.
Alex Ruffhead is rolling from Land’s End to Broadstairs, and will cover more than 420 miles, carrying everything he needs for the trip including his tent on his back.
He aims to cover 35 miles a day to complete ‘The Southern Push’ challenge in 12 days, and will start in Cornwall on September 6 and try to raise £12,000.
The 23-year-old site manager decided to do something for Alzheimer’s Research UK after his nan, Marion, aged 75, was diagnosed last year.
Marion lives with her husband, John, in Greatstone after moving from the Costwolds to be near the family in Kent.
Alex said: “I love an adventure, the outdoors, the fresh air and the freedom.
“I’m also quite partial to a long skate but I’ve never done something quite like this before.
“I’ll be travelling mostly along the coastline but heading inland at some points.
“I’ll be on pavements, roads and some cycle paths too. The wheels I have are bigger than usual, which should allow me to travel over rougher terrain.
“I have a bad habit for seeing something and saying ‘yep, I can do that!’ I get an idea and run with it, which is exactly what’s happened with this idea.
“I firmly believe that you can do anything if you believe you can and if you have the passion then nothing can stop you.”
He hopes the money he raises will help fund research at the University of Southampton to find a drug that slows Alzheimer’s by reducing nerve-cell death and improving symptoms.
The money will help fund a chemist to work on the project for three months.
Alex said it was “very sad” to see his nan’s condition deteriorate during his planning for the trip, as she was now struggling to complete basic tasks such as cooking a jacket potato.
He added: “She is an amazing woman with the biggest heart and is always smiling. She’s aware of her condition and gets very frustrated but also doesn’t like to admit it because she’s always been so capable.
“We have to keep investing in research to find a way to stop this disease.”