Paul battles back to raise cash for charity

Helsby man with rare visual form of Alzheimer’s dons his running shoes to raise funds for research

Paul Bulmer, who suffers from a rare variant of Alzheimers, crosses the finish line of the Whitley 10k

A Helsby man suffering from a rare visual variant of Alzheimer’s has completed the Whitley 10k in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK, thanks to the support of the ‘fantastic people’ at his local running club.

Paul Bulmer, 55, of Robin Rood Lane, completed the race on Sunday in 1.07:31 with help from his guide runner Paul Eccles and support runners David and Stephen Wiggins from Helsby Running Club, and has so far raised more than £600 for the charity.

The father of two was diagnosed with posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), the same condition that has afflicted the author Sir Terry Pratchett, two years ago.

PCA is a degenerative condition involving the loss and dysfunction of brain cells, particularly at the back of the brain.

Whereas Alzheimer’s is most commonly associated with deterioration in memory, individuals with PCA typically have well-preserved memory but instead show a decline in visual processing.

A keen runner, Paul wants to continue to be active for as long as he is able and runs  once a week with his guide runner, who he found through Run England.

Paul’s wife Alison said: “Running in a crowd is challenging at the best of times; for someone with Paul's condition it is particularly so. 

“However with his guide runner alongside him and two support runners behind him, he had the safety and support to complete the run in a little over one hour and seven  minutes. All that and achilles tendinitis as well! It was a tough run towards the end but He was  determined to complete it and ran all the way.

“Paul is extremely well  supported by members of  Helsby Running Club, some of  whom run sessions on a Monday morning and also guide him on the park runs in Delamere Forest on Saturday mornings.

“He would not be able to do  any running without the  support of these fantastic  people.”

Alison said Paul, who worked  as a consultant in financial  services prior to his diagnosis,  is coping well with PCA but  relies on family and friends to  help him get out and about as  he can no longer drive or go  out unaccompanied due to an  inability to judge depth, distance and speed of traffic.

“We try to find a way around most of the obstacles as far as possible,” she added.

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