I graduated University this year, as a reward of three years of hard work I'm going to the roof of Africa! Mt Kilimanjaro stands at 5895m (~19, 341 feet) above sea level and is the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Climate variations range from rain forests (towards the bottom) to arctic conditions at 5000+metres with windchill dropping temperatures to -25 degrees celcius. At this height oxygen levels are half that at sea level! My summit will be 7 days of ascending between 7-15 hours a day followed by a three day safari! Below are details of my story and why I chose Alzheimer's Society.
My story is not unique, hundreds of thousands of people have experienced the deterioration of a loved one and consequently the break-down of the surrounding family offering support but inevitably remaining on the sidelines as a malevolent disease reduces them to a fraction the person everyone once knew.
My Grandad was struck with Alzheimer's years ago and although he fights with every ounce of strength he is losing. The effects extend as far as causing a mental break down in his wife (my grandmother) as she simultaneously battled ill-health, old age, and attempted to care for him.
Now my grandad is in a care home, not able to leave the house for long before becoming distressed, unable to attend his granddaughters wedding, barely capable of recognising his son and grandson (my dad and I) when we come to play music for him.
The worst part is not the saddness or pain that this story conveys but the knowledge that the number of people this malignant disease effects is on the increase. Something must be done.
My family and many others have made the choice to act. It's up to you to decide for yourself.