Limerickman Greg will run the TCS London Marathon in October to support the work of Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Greg, who won the hit reality show in 2019, will be running in memory of his grandmother, Monica Ho, who passed away with dementia while he was in the Love Island villa.
The 27-year-old will join hundreds of runners supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK at this year’s event on Sunday, October 2.
The former Ireland rugby sevens player, who competed at the 2020 Tokyo Games before announcing his retirement from the sport last year, is hoping to raise £10,000 for vital dementia research to support the search for breakthrough dementia treatments.
Greg said: “My Nana was such a strong, independent woman. She was so supportive of everything I did, and I really miss being able to call in on her to have a cup of tea. She was a great woman.
“Sadly, when she passed, I was not at home as I was on Love Island. But the nurses in the care home put it on the TV and I like to think she would have heard my voice in her last couple of hours. She was my number one cheerleader, whether it was my exams, athletics or rugby, she was always there and that was the best thing about her.
“Dementia affects so many families and there are not many people who don’t know someone who has been affected by it, but that doesn’t lessen the impact on the person or the family,” Greg added.
“I vividly remember walking into the kitchen once and she looked at me with a really confused look on her face. I asked her if she was okay, and it took her a good couple of seconds to realise it was me. That’s when I knew things weren’t okay. Soon after that she went into a nursing home.
“She’d be so proud that I’m running the London Marathon for her. I’m not going for a time – it’s all about just finishing and raising as much as I can for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
"The money I raise will support their research into the early detection of diseases like Alzheimer’s. If we can catch these diseases earlier, we give ourselves the best chance of developing effective treatments. My hope is that families don’t have to struggle like mine did.”
Shirley Cramer, interim Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “It is so wonderful that Greg has joined our team of runners and taking on the TCS London Marathon for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
"By taking part in this iconic event, he’s not only raising vital funds for research in memory of his beloved grandmother, but also helping to shine a much-needed spotlight on dementia and the importance of research to overcome it.
“We wish Greg and all our runners the very best of luck on race-day. The charity and our fantastic volunteers will be out in force to cheer everyone on and ensure it’s a day to remember.”
To sponsor Greg, go to www.justgiving.com/gregoshea