TV star Davina McCall today (Saturday 30 September) joined 2,500 people to unite against dementia at Brighton Memory Walk.
Davina and her parents, Andrew and Gaby, cut the ribbon at the start of the walk on Hove Lawns. The trio has opened up about the impact of dementia on their lives and why they took part in Memory Walk.
Davina, whose dad is living with Alzheimer’s disease, said: “I love this walk. We came and did it last year as a family to support my dad, Andrew, and it’s amazing to be doing it all together again. Dad has Alzheimer’s disease and he is dealing with it all in the most positive way. He is just about the most inspirational man I have ever met.
“And dad tries to pass that positive attitude on to other people. Everyone is here walking home for someone. We’re all here for someone we love and what is so special is everyone uniting today for them and raising funds, all while having a good time.”
“It’s nice to see how far Memory Walk has come, and how many people are aware it’s for Alzheimer’s disease. Thank you to everyone for taking part. It’s nice to see how far Memory Walk has come, and how many people are aware it’s for Alzheimer’s disease. Thank you to everyone for taking part. “
Andrew said: “I have Alzheimer’s disease and I try to make the best of it. You just try to carry on. As a family we think it is very important to join together and support the work of the Alzheimer’s Society. Memory Walk is a great place to start. It was inspiring seeing all those people coming together to support one another and fundraise for people affected by dementia and all of our futures.”
Other dedicated fundraisers who donned their walking shoes were several members of The Dementia Research Group at the University of Sussex, which has a longstanding engagement with the Alzheimer’s Society.
Fundraising for Alzheimer’s Society research supports a programme at the University of Sussex for eight PhD students over five years to investigate a gene that increases the risk of the disease by up to 10 times as well as work led by the centre’s co-manager Professor Louise Serpell exploring early biological indicators.
Professor Jennifer Rusted, Dementia Research Group co-founder, said: “Our research, funded by Alzheimer’s Society, is progressing our knowledge of how and when genetic risk factors impact an individual’s brain and disrupting their everyday functioning.
“The Memory Walk provides an opportunity to give something back to the Society and to tell all the amazing fundraising walkers just how the money they are raising may be used in research projects and what we can achieve by working together.”
Elisa Vaughan, Alzheimer’s Society Operations Manager for Sussex, said: “Dementia is set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer.
“I am so glad that people from across Sussex stepped out in their thousands to improve the lives of people living with dementia.
“Every pound raised will help Alzheimer’s Society provide information and support, improve care, fund research and create lasting change for people affected by dementia.
“We are committed to spending at least £150 million over the next decade on dementia research to improve care for people today and find a cure for tomorrow.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped make this year’s Memory Walk such a huge success.”
- For further information about Alzheimer’s Society including details about local services, please visit alzheimers.org.uk