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Chelmsford brothers raise over £1,000 to transform the lives of those affected by dementia

21 Oct Chelmsford brothers raise over £1,000 to transform the lives of those affected by dementia

After decades of underfunding, dementia is now the UK’s biggest killer. Yet investment in dementia research still trails far behind other health conditions. Gary Hawkins, from Chelmsford recently took part in London Marathon Memory Walk, with his brother Marc, and Alzheimer’s Society took Gary to see what their fundraising money is going towards.

The NIDUS project, led by Professor Claudia Cooper, is a project funded by Alzheimer’s Society hoping to transform the lives of people affected by dementia by addressing independence at home. Claudia and her team of researchers are working to develop, and test person-centered strategies aimed at increasing the time people with dementia can stay at home.

This research is taking place at UCL Alzheimer’s Society Centre of Excellence, a groundbreaking initiative developed by to address areas in dementia care that are in urgent need of more research.

Gary Hawkins, whose mum has dementia, took part in Alzheimer’s Society’s annual fundraising event Memory Walk in London, to raise vital funds for research and services. Gary and Marc took on an extra challenge by walking a marathon length. Gary and Marc have so far raised over £1,110.

Gary said, “Over the past four years our mum has been battling against vascular dementia, an illness that has not only affected my mum but all of our family. In January we made the choice to place my mum in the hands of a care home, which has left my dad without his partner in crime.

“My dad and mum have been married for over 50 years. The thought that all the memories my parents share and have made together for so long, may never be remembered, is the hardest part for them both.

“It was fantastic to hear about what Claudia and her team are doing. We had one great care nurse for my mum, and she keeps in contact with my dad. In an ideal world my dad would have had a pack on how to care for my mum, telling him how to potentially manage the condition. Alzheimer’s Society provided lots of amazing documents, but what the NIDUS project is hoping to achieve, a whole pack on how to manage and cope with the condition, would have been great.

“This illness has affected our mum and she doesn’t even realise what it has done to her, we no longer have the chance to laugh and smile with my mum as this horrible condition means that every day, she forgets us a little bit more. Whilst we can’t change Mum’s illness, we can do something to help beat dementia in the future.

“We’ve never done anything like this before, this was my first Memory Walk we are we did it for our mum, our dad and to show our gratitude to Alzheimer’s Society who have helped me and family so much.”

Dementia devastates lives. Research shows that 850,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia. By 2021, 1 million people will be living with the condition. This will soar to two million by 2051. Alzheimer’s Society is committed to spending at least £150 million over the next decade on dementia research to improve care for people today and find a cure for tomorrow.

Professor Claudia Cooper said, “We are looking at ways to support people to live at home as well as possible, and for as long as possible, with dementia.

“We’re developing two interventions, one for family carers and people with dementia to tailor support around their specific needs. We are also currently developing a training and support package for home carers, which we hope will be successful in enabling home carers to feel supported themselves and to deliver the consistently excellent care that we would all like for our families. We are working with home care managers, home carers and family carers who have good and bad experiences of home care, who are very motivated to support people who are, in future, in the position they were in, when they were trying to choose home care.

“Most people living with dementia want to remain living in their own homes for as long as possible, but for many this is not possible. 85% of people in care homes have dementia. Having access to good quality home care can make a big difference to how long people can staying living in their own homes.

“I hope in future that many home care agencies will want to use the training we are currently developing, and that when people are choosing a home care agency for themselves or a family member with dementia, knowing the agency uses this training will give them confidence their relative will receive good quality care, centred around their needs.”.

Alzheimer’s Society night-time Glow Walks will be taking place nationwide in March next year. Every penny you raise through Memory Walk will help Alzheimer’s Society find a cure, improve care and support people affected by dementia. It’s time for us to make a real difference. Register now at