Kilkenny people urged to ‘make every step count’ for 1,413 living locally with dementia
Virgin Media TV presenter Martin King and beauty expert and entrepreneur Pamela Laird have issued a final rallying call for Kilkenny public to make “every step count” for this year’s Virtual Alzheimer’s Memory Walk.
The event is taking place nationwide next Sunday, September 19 as part of World Alzheimer’s Month 2021.
It is estimated there are currently 1,413 people living with dementia in Kilkenny and for every one person with dementia three others are directly affected. The number of people with the condition will more than double in the next 25 years to over 150,000 by 2045.
Alzheimer’s Memory Walk is a family-friendly series of walks suitable for all ages and abilities to unite together with their families and communities to raise awareness and funds for dementia supports. The ASI is hoping up to 5,000 walkers across Ireland will help us raise €250,000 for vital services that are helping to support so many people with dementia and their family carers across Ireland through the Covid-19 public health emergency and the aftermath of the lockdown.
Martin King shared his family connection with dementia in a moving documentary called ‘We Need to Talk About Dementia’, which formed part of the successful Donate for Dementia Week on Virgin Media TV last March. Martin’s mother, Christina, was diagnosed with dementia and passed away in 2019.
King said: “I am delighted to be a part of Alzheimer’s Memory Walk this year – it’s a terrific way to raise awareness and raise vital funds for The Alzheimer Society of Ireland during World Alzheimer’s Month in September.
“Through my own mother’s journey with dementia I got a look at how tough it can be for families and they really need so much support. My Mam Christina was a beautiful soul, she was very caring and loving. She was a great mam and a great grand mam and then dementia came knocking at the door and she was in denial because she was afraid.
“Dementia and Alzheimer’s are called the long goodbye for a reason. You can’t stop it as it’s happening and it’s emotionally very painful to go through. There’s a terrible stigma that goes with dementia as well and that’s why it was great to do the ‘We Need to Talk About Dementia’ documentary and the Donate for Dementia Week on Virgin Media to raise much-needed awareness around the country and Alzheimer’s Memory Walk now is another way to do this. I would encourage everyone to take part it really is something for the whole family.”
Pamela Laird is also delighted to back the campaign and has shared her family connection with dementia.
Her father, Sylvester, was diagnosed with dementia in 2016. The Dublin-based entrepreneur 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 the pandemic. The former Dragons Den and the BBC’s Apprentice contestant 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 is doing the walk with her mam Yvonne and her Chihuahua, Tallulah, and wants others to do the same.
Laird added: “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 alone and get them the support that they desperately need.
“During Alzheimer’s Month 2021, I really want to put a spotlight on dementia as it desperately needs our attention. You can walk 5km, 10k or whatever distance can do. It’s Your Walk, Your Way. Alzheimer’s Memory Walk is suitable for all ages and abilities to unite together with our families and communities to raise awareness and vital funds for dementia supports and services.
“I’m really looking forward to taking part in Alzheimer’s Memory Walk on Sunday, September 19th. I would encourage everyone to do the same, it’s so simple. Go to www.memorywalk.ie for details.”