City2Surf First Timers Run for Mum

26 Jul 2016

CHeBA Blog: City2Surf First Timers Run for Mum


At the age of just 61, a mother of three adoring children and seven beautiful grandchildren was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.  Her specialist physician was CHeBA Co-Director Professor Henry Brodaty.  A mere five years on and this loving Mum, Suellen Grellman,  is now living in a high care nursing home and requires assistance with everything that she does, including eating and drinking. 

Understandably, Suellen’s daughter, Sarah Holmes, has found this journey tough. 

“Watching my vibrant, confident, intelligent Mum deal and deteriorate with this disease has been heartbreaking,” said Sarah.

According to Sarah, who spoke at CHeBA’s annual corporate charity lunch hosted by ARIA Restaurant in June, the impact of this disease affects many people surrounding the patient. 

“It has significantly changed the lives of her children and their families, including her seven grandchildren.  It has also affected her siblings, their families and all her close friends.”

 “It is a cruel and prolonged goodbye to a person we all love so much,” she said. 

In honour of her Mum, Sarah has decided to undertake the City2Surf for the first time in August alongside Professor Henry Brodaty.  Her husband Rob, his sister Tori (also Sarah’s dear friend) are running for the cause, as is Tori’s husband Brett. 

Professor Brodaty praised the group for taking up the challenge and expressed his gratitude to them for driving funds to The Dementia Momentum® initiative at CHeBA.

Professor Brodaty said it was a privilege to be running with Sarah, Rob, Tori and Brett.

“Having been a part of this journey with the Grellman family since Suellen’s diagnosis, I’m genuinely touched that Sarah and her group are so supportive of CHeBA.  The family’s experience with Alzheimer’s disease highlights why our research is so vital.”

“The four of us are passionate about raising awareness about dementia and we are keen to raise funds to aid CHeBA’s medical research.  Research has linked regular physical activity throughout your lifetime to healthy brain ageing so what better way to raise awareness and funds than by participating alongside CHeBA?” said Sarah.