Alzheimer's Disease is something that affects around 850,000 people within the UK.
My mother has just recently been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at age 55. She is now at a stage where she no longer recognises myself or my sister, her best friend of 35 years and it is hit and miss as to whether or not she will recognise her father and siblings.
From once being a popular and intelligent woman, my mother now requires 24/7 care and can no longer manage tasks such as dressing herself or turning on taps to wash her hands.
My Grandmother was also diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at age 48 and unfortunately passed away from the disease at age 60.
In my own personal experience, Alzheimer's is an awful disease because it strips people of their capabilities, their dignity and their memories, leaving them requiring constant care and medication.
I have chosen to complete my challenge on horseback for several reasons:
- My mum adored horses and learned to ride as soon as she was able at age 16. It was because of her that myself and my sisters all learned to ride and that I am now pursuing a career with horses.
- She owned a hunter named Sarah (pictured in the photos) for many years who was "the horsey love of her life". Sarah is one of the increasingly few things that she still recognises and a photo of Sarah and my mum competing at a hunter trials is kept in my mum's hospital room. Unfortunately, Sarah passed away a few years ago which always saddened my mum.
- My mum had many doubts about my own mare, Poppy, when I bought her as a 7year old when I was aged 18, mainly because we have had several personality clashes and near death-related incidents over the years. If she was fully aware that I plan to ride 70miles through the Peak District on Poppy, she'd laugh her head off, say "go on,girl, make sure there's an ambulance on stand-by!" and wish me luck.
Alzheimer's has taken things from my mum that I cannot replace, the only thing I can do is to try and make a difference by raising as much as I can for Alzheimer's Research to try and help them progress with their work and research into this disease.
My plan is to ride the South Peak Loop over 4 days beginning 01/03/2018 and ending 04/03/2018. Hopefully I'll be able to raise enough to make a difference.
Please donate and wish me luck!