Four members of his family, including his father, died in their 40s from a rare, inherited form of Alzheimer’s and his 43-year-old brother also has the disease and needs round-the-clock care in a home.
When Chris, a dad of three, was given the same devastating diagnosis, he was determined to raise awareness and money for research while he was still physically able.
Knowing he faces the same grim decline as his brother, he resolved to take on the challenge of a sponsored 16,000-mile cycle ride around the USA and Canada.
Former soldier Chris, who was medically discharged after 23 years in the army, knows any a cure will come too late for him, but he is fundraising to try and make sure his three children, who have a 50/50 risk, and other families are free from the fear, harm and heartbreak of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
Chris, from Oxfordshire, is a dedicated supporter of Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity.
“Although I know what will happen to me in the coming years, I now have direction in life,” he says. “I wanted to do something to fight back against the disease – to do as much as I can while I can. It’s simple for me, you have to hit the enemy directly, so I’ve taken on a challenge to help support research and I’m taking part in studies.
“Being nominated for a Pride of Sport Award makes me very proud. Even if I don’t make it through to the final round I’ll be thrilled to have come this far, representing other people like me living with Alzheimer’s and their families.”
His challenge has earned the support of Prime Minister David Cameron, who praised Mr Graham’s ‘extraordinary grit and determination’. We couldn’t agree more.