This year I set myself the challenge of riding 240 miles over three days as a tribute to my mother. She died peacefully last June, following several years suffering from vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s. My journey is in effect a ‘memory ride’, taking its lead from the Alzheimer’s Society and their programme of ‘memory walks. Three of us set off on 19 May 2018 and the #ProjectBarbara route was from my home in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire to Bishopsbourne in Kent. We did it!
The 240-miles took in Bishop Otter College in Chichester where my mother studied to be a teacher; then across Sussex and into Kent where as a family we also spent happy times as children; then ended in Bishopsbourne, which was the location of my mother’s first job and, ironically, where she decided she didn’t want to be a teacher after all! I know that she would think that I am slightly bonkers doing this, but it feels right. And thinking of her smiling kept me going.
Not enough is known about dementia and Alzheimer's. It is far more common than you think.There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. This will soar to 2 million by 2051. Reports suggest that 225,000 will develop dementia this year, that's one every three minutes. 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia. I’ve not met anyone since starting to talk about my mother that has not also had an experience related to this disease that takes the people we love away from us mentally often well before they leave us physically. There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease or any other type of dementia. Delaying the onset of dementia by five years would halve the number of deaths from the condition, saving 30,000 lives a year.
Dementia research is desperately underfunded. For every person living with dementia, the annual cost to the UK economy is over £30,000 and yet only £90 is spent on dementia research each year.
Thanks for taking the time to visit my #ProjectBarbara, JustGiving page. Please do make a donation and tell your friends.
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