London Memory Walk 2018
On the 13th of October, I did a 7.5-kilometre memory walk around London in the aid of The Alzheimer’s Society.
Last year my Grandad was diagnosed with Dementia and his decline has been unpredictable and fast. He is currently in a nursing home and only vaguely remembers me. It’s been difficult for myself and my family to see my Grandad, so recently full of pride and energy, reduced to a much smaller and confused old man.
Not enough is known about this disease and ways to treat it person-to-person, so when I saw an advert on TV for a charitable Memory Walk in aid of The Alzheimer’s Society I immediately signed up.
I signed up to JustGiving with an aim of raising £200 for charity, and I bought some trainers.
I’m a fairly active walker, particularly since I live in London, but I’m not fond of long-distance walking. So signing up for a 7.5 km walk was going to be a bit of a challenge.
That being said it was really well organised, the day was a scorcher – at 23-degree Celsius in October! – and I managed to get right to the front.
I was walking alone and I think I was one of the very few people doing it alone but that was fine by me. I put my earphones in – after the Zumba warm-up – and listened to an audiobook about managing money. Multi-tasking millennial me.
The walk itself started at the Honourable Artillery House near Moorgate, went around St Pauls Cathedral, up the Southbank, across the London bridge, around the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe and across the millennium bridge back to St Pauls and Moorgate.
I started the walk at 11:05 am and finished at 12:40 pm. Basically walking 4 miles an hour. I walk fast.
The atmosphere of the event was electric and extremely moving. It was lovely to see family units gathered together with signs showing their love for loved ones, family members, friends and dearly departed.
I wore my sign for my Grandad with his motto on – Don’t Worry, Be Happy – and an old passport photo he gave me to ‘remember him by’. He was a lot happier than that photo portrays though.
The walk got me thinking a lot about the illness and treatment for it. We simply don’t know enough to treat it properly yet and it is a massive strain on the person who’s suffering from the illness and on their loved ones. It’s not contagious but it affects as us.
The other thought I had was that as our life expectancy increases the risk of people getting dementia and Alzheimer’s increases and that’s terrifying. Also motivating for me to do more of these walks in aid of finding a cure or a preventative treatment.
Overall it was a fun event and I can’t wait to do it again next year – maybe with fellow family members and friends who have supported me along the way.
In total, I raised £400 on JustGiving, with £72 in GiftAid as well. Thanks to all of these generous donations from friends, family, and work colleagues we have absolutely smashed my target.
I just hope that in some way it benefits my Grandad and his time in the nursing home is comfortable and full of love.
Don’t worry, be happy.