Running down dementia

2 June 2021



This June may be just another month for some but will mark an important milestone for a family who has been connected with The University of Queensland (UQ) for over 50 years.

Carly Stokes (née Dengate) will take on the challenge of running a half marathon to raise money for research into dementia at UQ's Queensland Brain Institute (QBI).

Carly Stokes with her Mum and Dad in happier times.

A half marathon for dementia research

Her father, Geoff Dengate, would have celebrated his 70th birthday this June, but was diagnosed with early onset frontotemporal lobe dementia in 2015 and died in 2018.

“I wanted to mark his birthday in a way that was meaningful to both Dad and me,” she said when asked about her half marathon plans.

“Dad was the eternal sportsman and most of my memories with him involved physical activity - running, basketball, cycling, swimming, surfing the big waves 'out the back' and hiking.

Dad never stopped being sporty

Geoff was always supportive.

“He had always played a range of sports before he had my sister and me, and continued this when we were young, and long after we had grown up. He never stopped.”

Geoff began his UQ journey in 1968 as a Bachelor of Science (Mathematics) student and resident of Cromwell College.

After graduating, his initial employment was in the Department of Commerce (1972-75) before he moved to the Prentice Computer Centre as a computer programmer and worked his way up to Deputy Director, finishing in 1992.

Strong links to UQ

During this time, he also completed a Diploma in Information Processing, an MBA, and received both a Half Blue and Full Blue sporting award for basketball.

The family connection to UQ has always been strong.

Geoff’s wife Sue worked at UQ for 43 years, their eldest daughter Jody completed her Bachelor of Engineering degree there, and youngest daughter, Carly, was employed in the Graduate School.

To honour her father, Carly has decided to run a half-marathon (21.1km) that tracks around places in Brisbane that hold a special meaning to their family, of which UQ is one.

Channelling Dad's positivity

Carly practising at UQ

“Dad always believed my sister and I were capable of anything,” Carly said.

“The furthest I've ever run is 10km (and I've only ever done that once) so this will not be an easy feat. I will definitely be channelling Dad’s positivity to get through this.”

“Dad’s birthday is actually the day before mine, so we have always shared our birthdays. Not being able to celebrate together for the past three years has been hard,” Carly said.

Building awareness about dementia research

“I am hoping that running this half-marathon for his 70th birthday will shine a light on his legacy as well as build awareness and funding for much-needed research into frontotemporal lobe dementia.”

You can help Carly’s fundraising efforts by donating through her gofundme page.

The Brain: Dementia QBI