Hospital worker raises £1,500 for Alzheimer’s Research UK after sister, 49, is diagnosed the disease

Julia Peat, a medical laboratory assistant at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, raised £1,500 in a swimming challenge for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

She wanted to take part as swimming was always something she enjoyed with her sister, Helen Yule-Black, who was diagnosed with Picks disease, a rare and aggressive form of dementia, last year, aged just 49.

Julia, of Grange Road, Harold Hill, said:

We’re very close and used to go swimming together every week. She’s the swimmer in the family, she used to swim for Essex.

I miss her now when I go swimming, as I can’t take her anymore, so I thought this was something I could do for her. The challenge also gave me something to aim for.”

The 56-year-old completed 18km over seven weeks, finishing earlier this month. In her longest swim she clocked up 48 lengths. She completed most of the distance at her local pool at Central Park Leisure Centre in Harold Hill, she also did some in the pool at the Olympic Park.

Julia added:

I was chuffed to raise so much money, especially when I found out I was eighth on the leaderboard of 933 people taking part in the challenge across the country.

Everyone has been really supportive, including all my colleagues. And while Helen doesn’t really communicate anymore, her husband and daughter are really proud of what I’m doing.”

Julia, who is based at King George Hospital and has worked for the Trust for 15 years, also raised £2,500, alongside family and friends, by taking part in a Memory Walk for Dementia UK last year.

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