Call for public to take part in first Alzheimer’s Memory Walk this month

by Rachel Darcy

Entrepreneur and The Alzheimer Society of Ireland ambassador Pamela Laird has issued a final call for the public to take part in the first Alzheimer’s Memory Walk, taking place nationwide on September 20 to mark World Alzheimer’s Month.

The Alzheimer’s Memory Walk is a family-friendly series of walks, suitable for all ages and abilities, aimed at raising awareness and funds for dementia supports.

The ASI is hoping that 6,000 walkers across Ireland will help to raise €100,000 for vital services helping to support people with dementia and their family carers through COVID-19, and the aftermath of lockdown.

Pamela Laird, a former Dragon’s Den and BBC’s Apprentice contestant, will be taking part in the walk in honour of her father, Sylvester, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2016.

The Dublin-based entrepreneur, who owns the Moxi Loves line, has said while the family started noticing changes with her father as far back as 2010, the dementia diagnosis was still very challenging for them all to deal with – especially when lockdown hit, forcing the closure of vital face-to-face services.

Laird said she wants to put a spotlight on dementia during World Alzheimer’s Month and encourage others to reach out for support – like a member of her own family did when they completed The ASI’s family carer training course. Pamela will be doing the walk with her mam Yvonne and her Chihuahua, Tallulah.

She said: “The Alzheimer’s Memory Walk is an excellent way to bring families and communities together to raise vital money and awareness.

“The Alzheimer Society of Ireland does excellent work throughout the country and my family have used their supports to help my dad with his journey with dementia. They need to keep fundraising to keep their services running.

“Through my father’s diagnosis of dementia I am all too aware of what so many families go through in Ireland – the confusion, the sadness and the isolation. It’s at a time like this where we need to remember those suffering alone and get them the support that they desperately need.

“During Alzheimer’s Month 2020, I really want to put a spotlight on dementia as it desperately needs our attention. I’m really looking forward to taking part in Alzheimer’s Memory Walk on Sunday, September 20th. I would encourage everyone to do the same, it’s so simple. Go to www.memorywalk.ie for details.”

Jacinta Dixon, a member of the Irish Dementia Working Group (IDWG) who lives in Clondalkin, was diagnosed with dementia in 2016, and said she is looking forward to taking part in the Memory Walk.

Dixon said: “Since I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years ago I have kept as active as possible under the circumstances, continued to live well and be part of my community. But the past few months have been very challenging with cocooning and social distancing. At times it’s been frightening.

“Now I feel I am starting to get back out there – going shopping and taking my regular walks. That’s why I am so delighted to take part in Alzheimer’s Memory Walk – it will give me a purpose and a reason to get back out into my community again and I am really looking forward to doing a walk with my family.

“The theme of World Alzheimer’s Month is Let’s Talk About Dementia and I think Alzheimer’s Memory Walk gives everyone that opportunity – to get out there, go for a walk with your family, raise awareness for dementia and vital funds for those who need it the most.”

People are being encouraged to plan their own socially-distanced walk solo, with their household or within their community. So, whether that’s 5km, 10km or whatever distance people like. There are family-friendly prices €5 for kids and €18 for adults.

For more information, see MemoryWalk.ie.

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