AN intrepid group of Wirral pensioners are taking a hike in support of people living with dementia.
The team, who are all neighbours in an Alpha Living sheltered housing development, will be leading a team on a 10-hour, 28-mile trek across the Wirral in support of Dementia UK and its research into tackling the condition.
The Alpha Walk team – as it’s known – has launched its fundraising efforts to coincide with Dementia Action Week, which runs from 20-26 May, with the hike itself set to take place in July.
An inclusive challenge was required; one that suited people of all ages and abilities, so a walking route was devised that stops off at all eleven of Alpha’s Wirral communities.
Phyllis Swarbrick is one of the residents taking part in a stretch of the walk. Her husband, Mike is living with vascular dementia.
The couple live at Alpha Court and despite having health issues herself, Phyllis is determined to take part in the walk at raise as much as possible for Dementia UK.
“There’s only one person I’d do this walk for and that’s Mike,” she said. “I promised him last year that I’d do a walk for Dementia UK and I’ve challenged myself to complete a three mile section.
“I’ve known people with dementia before, but nothing could have prepared me for living with it every day. It’s scary to know that Mike’s illness is progressive, but we take everything one day at a time.
“Some days he’s quite lucid and other days he won’t recognise me or members of the family. Sometimes he can be like a little boy asking where he is and where his mother is. I’ve always got to think on my feet.”
Starting this week, The Alpha Walk team is collecting sponsorships in advance of their ambitious challenge on Saturday, 13 July. They will be joined by Alpha staff, friends and family members.
“We have a brilliant support network around us and everyone at Alpha Court is so generous and supportive,” Phyllis added. “There is always someone to talk to about it. I’d love to see more people joining our walking team, even for a shorter stretch, and obviously raise as much money as possible to help Dementia UK to discover a cure for this awful disease.
“I’ve had loads of people sponsoring me already, which is fantastic motivation, but really Mike is my main motivation.”
Dementia UK is a charity that provides specialist support and Admiral Nurses for families affected by dementia.
“Lots of our staff have had loved ones receive a diagnosis of dementia and we all know residents who over the years have had their lives changed by this horrible disease,” said Alpha’s chief executive, Graeme Foster.
“We care deeply for all our residents and dementia is a cause that is close to our hearts. We wanted to get together and do something positive to raise awareness and contribute to the wonderful work that Dementia UK does.
“The Wirral walk is a brilliant idea which will provide an opportunity for all our residents, their friends and loved ones to get involved and support us on the day. Please do sign up to join the walk if you can or support the team by making a donation.”
Main Image: Phyllis Swarbrick gets a thank you kiss from husband Mike, with supporters from Alpha Living at Alpha Court
The Alpha Walk team is hoping to raise £1,150 and has set up a JustGiving page to help them attract sponsors: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/alphalivingwalk