The UK’s leading dementia charity is urging 2,186 people in the East Midlands to take part in a very different version of its most popular fundraising event.
The figure represents the exact number of participants at Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walk in Clumber Park last year.
With the Coronavirus pandemic bringing large fundraising events to a halt, the charity is seeking to replicate 2019’s success with hundreds of smaller, self-organised walks.
Judith King, Head of Region for Alzheimer’s Society said : “With so many families and friends having to spend time apart during lockdown, this could provide a wonderful opportunity for long-awaited reunions of small groups, in line with latest government guidelines.
“People with dementia have been worst hit by coronavirus, not just in terms of deaths – our survey found shocking levels of decline, as dementia symptoms increase since people have had to stay isolated in their homes.
“More than half a million people have used Alzheimer’s Society’s support services since the start of the pandemic, with many calling them a lifeline.
“Our trained staff have taken thousands of calls to our Dementia Connect Support Line and as our face-to-face and group services remain suspended, we’ve reached out to those in need through welfare and companion calls, making more than 100,000 of these so far.
“Like many charities Alzheimer’s Society has been badly hit financially despite its services being in more need than ever before.
“This is why it has never been more important to raise money to help us reach and support more people through our vital services.”
This year’s Santander-sponsored Memory Walk is free to sign up online at memorywalk.org.uk, where people will find support to organise their own walk, whether around a local park or in an area that helps recapture special memories.
The charity expects many of its supporters will arrange walks to coincide with World Alzheimer’s Day on 20 September. However, it stresses that walks can take place any time between now and October.
Jeff Norton, Director of AI Digital Training Ltd in Lincoln, will be walking in memory of his mum Gwen, who has dementia and passed away in April. He will be joined by his sister Lorraine.
Jeff said: “We wanted to take part in Memory Walk, in support of our mother Gwen, the thousands of others living with dementia and Alzheimer’s Society for the support they have given us over the years.
“Gwen was a kind, quiet person, never seeking attention but fiercely supportive of her family. At first, we didn’t even notice the little lapses in memory, putting it down to ‘just mum’ but over time, her symptoms became more obvious and like so many others, we had to watch as dementia gradually overcame her.
“Tragically Gwen died at the end of April, so when we step out on our own Memory Walk on October 11 at Clumber Park, no doubt there will be a few tears. But above all it will be in celebration of a woman who showed incredible bravery, resilience and determination. A woman who we were proud to call ‘mum’ and we know was proud of us. We hope that our efforts will raise much needed funds for the Alzheimer’s Society enabling them to help others who, we know, really need their support.”
Sign up now at memorywalk.org.uk and with every step, you’ll help change the lives of people affected by dementia.