"Theres only one person Id do this walk for and thats Mike. I promised him last year that Id do a walk for Dementia UK and Ive challenged myself to complete a 3 mile section."
Phyllis Swarbrick, Alpha Court resident
An intrepid group of sheltered accommodation neighbours will be leading a team on an 10-hour, 18-mile hike across The Wirral to raise money for a charity which is researching how to combat dementia.
The residents, who all live in Alpha Living developments, are launching their fundraising bid to coincide with Dementia Action Week (20-26 May). They wanted to come up with an inclusive challenge that suited people of all ages and abilities and have devised a walking route which stops off at all eleven of Alpha’s Wirral communities.
Taking part in a stretch of the walk will be Phyllis Swarbrick, whose 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. She said; “There’s only one person I’d do this walk for and that’s Mike. 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 to raise money for Dementia UK. They will be joined by Alpha staff, friends and family members.
Phyllis continued; “We have a brilliant support network around us and everyone at Alpha Court is so generous and supportive. 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.
Graeme Foster, Chief Executive at Alpha said, “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.
“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.”
The Alpha Walk team is hoping to raise £1,150 and has set up a JustGiving page called 'AlphaLivingWalk' to help them attract sponsors and reach their fundraising goal.