Hundreds go the distance at Milton Keynes Memory Walk to raise money for people with dementia

    Alzheimer’s Society fundraisers turned Willen Lake blue on Saturday 17th September to raise money for people with dementia and their carers.

    715 walkers are set to raise over £70,000 after uniting at the idyllic venue to remember and support loved ones affected by dementia.

    Those taking part in the Memory Walk completed either a short 3km gentle walk accessible also for wheelchair users or the longer more challenging 5km walk through woodland giving beautiful views of the lake and the Peace Pagoda.

    Natasha Smith, a 29 year-old Nursing Associate from Aylesbury, who has experienced the devastating impact of dementia firsthand, was among those who went the extra mile in memory of her nan, Diana.

    Natasha took part in the Milton Keynes Memory Walk in memory of her nan who died last year, twelve months after her dementia diagnosis. She was in her 80s: “Nan and Grandad were in denial, but I knew what was happening. Nan kept forgetting birthdays and people’s names which wasn’t like her. She’d get up in the middle of the night thinking it was morning and start putting on her shoes. She’d hide my cars keys and tell me I wasn’t allowed to leave the house. I would describe her as pleasantly confused.”

    Diana used to work in a school and when she retired, she and Natasha’s grandad travelled around Canada for three months in a motorhome, then parts of France and the UK. “It became difficult for my grandad to help take my nan out and about. Nan used to love spending time in the garden seeing all the flowers and she would take loads of photos of us. She fell over outside once but luckily, we were there to help her up.”

    Natasha has been a carer for six years and works with people living with dementia. She says “I love my job but it can be very difficult if I’m attached to the residents. I attend several funerals which is actually a comfort for the family as I’m one of the people who was with their loved ones during the final stages of their life.”

    Natasha said “The atmosphere at Willen Lake was great with so many happy chatty people. I thought about my nan a lot while walking the 5km and how proud she would’ve been of me doing this for a charity close to my heart. It was very emotional as I also remembered all the residents in the care homes I looked after who had been affected by dementia.

    “My friends and I said we’d definitely do the walk again.”

    The fundraisers stepped out to support people affected by dementia through some of the hardest and most frightening times, to improve their lives and help to avoid crisis.

    Marion Child, Alzheimer’s Society Area Manager, said: “We are in awe of our incredible fundraisers, including Natasha who went above and beyond to raise vital funds and awareness for local people living with dementia.

    “It was extremely moving to see so many people come together to honour or remember their loved ones. Every step taken will help us provide a lifeline of support for as many people affected by dementia as possible.

    “Too many people face dementia alone. With the help of our brilliant fundraisers, we can ensure that everyone affected by dementia can turn to us for expert support through practical advice, emotional support, and guidance for the best next step.

    “I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped make this year’s Memory Walk such a brilliant success.”

    Visit memorywalk.org.uk to find out more about the remaining Memory Walk events or to organise your own Memory Walk at a location and time of your choosing.

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