Rachael's blog: My memory walk in aid of the Alzheimer's Society

Posted on: 20/09/2020

‘Imagine you are stood beside a bookcase that’s as tall you are and it’s filled with books. Each of those books represents a memory, a fact, something you’ve learned in the last X years. Right by your head would be the most recent memories, maybe this morning’s breakfast. By your shoulders, you might have earlier memories, maybe a retirement party. By the knees, your younger years, maybe meeting a partner. And then all the way down by your feet would be childhood memories, maybe the first day of school. Dementia rocks your bookcase. So, as it rocks your bookcase, what do you think is likely to happen to those books? They’re going to fall out, aren’t they? And which ones do you think are likely to fall out first? The ones at the top.’

I decided a fair few months ago that I wanted to raise money for a good cause, I had recently got into health and fitness and clearly I had decided I was an absolute professional and needed to put this new-found commitment to good use!

And so, the decision was made to carry out a sponsored walk.

But who to raise money for?

As far as I’m concerned ANY charity that raises funds for research and support is worthwhile but I wanted to do something that felt close to my heart. My dad has multiple sclerosis and unfortunately, vascular dementia comes part and parcel of this.

I realised I knew NOTHING about it - how to deal with it all, what is best for him, and how to support my mum who is his main carer.

I joined the Progress Lifeline Control Centre in December and that was where I first heard the ‘bookcase analogy’ along with some staggering statistics...

Dementia Affects 47.5 million people worldwide …. 47.5 MILLION people… and there is currently no cure. How mind-blowing is that?

With the decision made, it was time to commit

The decision had been made. I was going to take part in a sponsored memory walk in aid of dementia on the 20th September. As all the official memory walks had been filled up, I decided in my infinite wisdom that I would walk the Guild Wheel …I’ve never done a long walk in my life - I DON’T even own any walking shoes and I complain if I have to nip the Spar round the corner! What could possibly go wrong, right?!

Armed with a mobile (and a wife that knows what she is doing), a JustGiving page was created. Minor blip when I originally set the target at £5,000 but that was quickly rectified to a modest target of £300 and I’m pleased to say that this target has already been exceeded and I currently stand at £350 raised – I am not ashamed to say I want more! So if you’re feeling generous then feel free to throw a few quid to this amazing cause and I would be forever grateful.

How is the training going?

I’d love to tell you I’ve been training every moment I’ve had free, but... McDonald’s has reopened so it’s been a bit sketchy!

What I can promise is, I will be ready

I am determined to complete this walk with a smile on my face and a real sense of achievement once I’ve completed this and I hit that ‘transfer funds‘ button on my JustGiving page. Training has started and I’m starting to really look forward to this mere 23 miles :)

Dementia can rob not only an individual but the family of that individual, of all their memories, experiences and character - and I refuse to believe that this can’t change. With help, research and support I am hopeful that we can stick some brackets on that bookcase, permanently mount it to the wall and help people live the life they deserve.