A group of Littlehampton friends are walking for their grandparents in the upcoming Brighton Memory Walk and have raised more than £2,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Sisters Bernie and Hannah Catherall are joining their friends Emily Crabb and Becky Colbridge on the walk, which sets off from King Alfred Leisure Centre in Kingsway, Hove, on October 8, and the four hope to raise ‘much needed awareness’ of the disease.
The girls, who have been friends for 15 years, are tackling the longer seven kilometre route through Hove Lawns, which will take them towards Brighton pier.
Bernie, 26, an account handler at The General Maintenance Company, in Rope Walk, Littlehampton and Hannah, 28, a self-employed hairdresser, of Bell Davies Road, Littlehampton, are doing it for their ‘Nanny Bren’, 86, who has had vascular dementia for ten years.
“We are doing the walk because we can’t really do anything else for her and we are seeing her disappear every day,” said Bernie.
This is the second time the duo will be tackling the walk for the cause, after completing it in 2014 and raising £1,500 for the charity – but this year they said they have been amazed by the amount of donations and did not realise how many people are affected.
“There is not enough awareness and it takes too long for a diagnosis,” said Hannah, who feels the available care today is not good enough.
Emily Crabb, 27, a personal assistant at FRP Advisory, in West Street, Brighton, of North Street, Wick, is just getting used to the idea that her ‘Nanna Brenda’, who is 82 has the disease, which was diagnosed a year ago.
She said: “It is upsetting to hear from the girls what might happen and the fact that nothing can be done about it.”
Becky Colbridge, 27, deputy manager at New Look, in Littlehampton high street, watched her husband, James’ Grandad, Kenneth, who died at age 89, two years ago, deteriorate extremely quickly from the disease.
“This was so upsetting and I never want my children to have to see me that way – the man Ken became was unrecognisable,” she said.
The memory walks are held across the country and see thousands of people take part to raise money for people with dementia across England, Wales and Northern Ireland and people of all ages and abilities take on the walk.
Around 225,000 people develop dementia every year, which is equivalent to one person every three minutes, the Alzheimer’s Society said.
The girls plan to raise more funds over the next week and have a ‘TEAM BBK’ JustGiving page, which stands for both nanny Brenda’s and Grandad Kenneth at www.justgiving.com/teams/MW16NannyBren.
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