In August this year my mum was diagnosed with vascular dementia. It was a condition that I knew very little about and I found the initial prognosis difficult to come to terms with.
There are 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia. By 2040 that number is expected to rise to over 1.5 million.
I never imagined that one of those people would be my mum.
Many people think dementia is a natural part of ageing (mum is 76) but this is not the case. Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain. It is a word used to describe symptoms that occur when brain cells stop working properly.
Common symptoms of dementia include the gradual loss of memory, decline in communication skills and difficultly with thinking and reasoning. As the condition progresses many people struggle with everyday tasks such as feeding and dressing themselves. In the latter stages they may become unable to move or communicate and need 24 hour care.
At the moment mum is still able to live independently. I visit her on a daily basis and help her with day to day tasks. She is taking medication to slow its progression and after experiencing a range of emotions initially, I’m now looking to the future and feeling positive that we can work through this together.
Photo: Alan Law
One of the worst aspects of this horrible illness is the memory loss and the inability to think clearly. In my opinion, a person’s memory is everything. Being able to remember childhood experiences, your child’s first words, or first steps. This is where I believe photography is so important and why documenting your life is essential.
Growing up, I loved my camera. I was always taking pictures and I loved the excitement of getting them developed. I used to spend hours looking through the pictures I had taken and also looking through old family photographs taken by others.
It’s so important to have something to look back on and remind you of important moments in your life and how you felt. This is crucial for dementia suffers as the pictures act as a trigger to help them remember and reinforce their connection with family members.
My recent personal experiences are why I have decided to fund raise for Alzheimers UK and this post is about asking others for support.
No other UK dementia charity puts more money into research than Alzheimers Research UK and their research is working.
The discovery of genes that influence the risk of Alzheimers has revolutionised their understanding of this disease and could lead to potential new treatments.
Here’s what the following donations could buy:
£10 could help to buy 100 microscope slides which are essential and used every day by scientists researching dementia.
£50 will help to run the Dementia Research Info-line for two hours, helping to improve the lives of people living with dementia.
£125 will help scientists to map 5000 genes in minute detail, unlocking the secrets of genetics and identifying new ways to prevent or treat dementia.
With this in mind, I am joining thousands of others across the UK in a new campaign to cover a distance of 100,000km and raise money for this worth while cause.
I’m pledging to walk/run 100km over a 4 week period and my goal is to raise £120 to donate to Alzheimers UK to fund vital research.
Every pound counts. If you are able to donate £1 or even £10, lets try to make a difference and help Alzheimers UK to find a cure for a disease which is effecting hundreds of thousands of people across the UK today.
To donate, please click on the link and enter your details: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/TraceyWarbey
PLEASE REMEMBER TO TICK THE ‘GIFT AID’ BOX WHEN MAKING A DONATION – THE GOVERNMENT WILL ADD ANOTHER 25% TO THE DONATION AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU!