Eastlight sponsor inspirational resident going the distance to tackle dementia

Lee Miller

Back in 2017, medics told Lee his diagnosis of vascular dementia meant he had just seven years to live.

But after learning that exercise would help slow the disease’s progress, the 57-year-old has battled back by taking on a series of mammoth cycling and running challenges.

Eastlight is proud to help Lee on his fantastic feats of endurance with sponsorship totalling more than £1,000 to fund a cycling kit, a jersey and support for Marks Tey-based cycling shop, Velo Schils.

Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia and mainly affects people’s cognitive ability. Lee, from Great Horkesley, explained: “Every person with dementia experiences symptoms completely differently. Those
with early-onset dementia have a different type to elderly people with dementia, for example.

“I was diagnosed at the age of 51, though I had small vessel disease at about 40, and, before that, mild cognitive impairment in my 30s. Both illnesses are classified as precursors of dementia, so you could say I've had dementia since I was in my 30s.”

Father of two, Lee, cycles regularly, runs four days a week and even visits the gym on Sundays. It means that, since lacing up his running shoes, Lee has lost as much as seven stone and regularly tallies up 70 miles of running and cycling per week.

Lee, who manages his condition carefully, is planning to run the Thruxton Duathlon – an event involving a run, a cycle
and then another run – on 1 October, which will also act as the GB qualifier for the upcoming European Championship in 2024.

He said: “It will make me immensely proud to represent Eastlight. I’ve written to more than 1,200 companies, charities and individuals. Of those, only six, including Eastlight, wanted to help. I think that counts Eastlight as being more than special; I'd say ultra rare!

“I might come last for all I know, but I couldn’t care less. Just competing will be an amazing achievement for a 57-year-old, previous couch potato with dementia, and I hope to make you all very proud.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I think you would do this for me; thank you so, so much!" 

You can keep track of Lee’s experiences via his own website www.leemiller.run