I’ve always been pretty active, but certainly more so in the last 18 months. I like to run, lift and cycle, but am now turning my hand - or rather feet - to climbing.
After working out regularly with a friend of mine, she and I decided we needed a challenge, something to really work towards, a goal to reach for. She works at a specialist nursing and dementia care home and so comes into contact with lots of types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, the most common cause. When we learned about the Alzheimer’s Society’s Ben Nevis Midnight Challenge, we both leapt at the chance to be involved in such an amazing event… well, she leapt, and I dutifully followed!
I’d really appreciate any support for me and my friend as we take on this challenge. You can do so by donating to The Alzheimer’s Society via our JustGiving Page… more on that later.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia. Broadly speaking, dementia is the name given to describe a group of symptoms present after the brain has been damaged by disease or stroke, there are over 800,000 people with dementia in the UK and this number is set to rise. Alzheimer’s is progressive which means that more and more of the brain is damaged over time and symptoms such as memory loss, confusion and mood swings will worsen as a person ages.
Although there are ongoing efforts to develop medical treatments, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s. There are, however, a range of therapies to help people and carers cope after a diagnosis.
A Little about the Alzheimer’s Society
Every year, this organisation’s 20,000 members help over 86,000 people with dementia, their families and their carers, cope with the symptoms of dementia. Through a network of local services (and homes such as the one my buddy works at!), members and supporters offer practical services in the form of day care and home care as well as online and telephone-based information to help families understand what dementia is.
The Alzheimer’s Society calls for a brighter future for everyone affected by any and all forms of dementia. The research programme they invest in has lead to over 100 projects which fall into four categories; Cause, Cure, Care and Prevention. It looks to improve the life for people with dementia as well as tackling questions behind the causes of dementia, the treatment of it and ultimately, the pursuit of a cure.
What makes them so special is that many members have actually experienced dementia in some shape or form, meaning the help they offer comes from real experience and the research network is influenced by the involvement of people with early-stage dementia and their carers.
The Ben Nevis Midnight Challenge
So, how am I fundraising for this worthy cause? Why, I’m climbing the highest mountain in the UK… by torchlight.
At around 10.30pm on Friday 20th June, my friend and I are heading up Ben Nevis. Starting with a steep ascent, we’ll be climbing steadily for around 5 hours, with the terrain around us changing from earthy green to rocky slopes to the zig-zags that lead to the summit.
Once at the top, a quick tea-break (it’ll be cold up there!) and we’ll start descending at dawn. Depending on the weather, we should see the sunrise and hopefully check out the views from the highest point in the UK! Checkout the gallery for awesome pics from last year’s climb.
Although I’d say I’m physically fit, training for the climb has also been a challenge. Essex certainly isn’t known for its mountains, and there’s not a lot of rocky terrain in Colchester, but we are blessed with some scenic walks which I’ve been addicted to these last few weeks.
Preparing for the Midnight Challenge has been as much about perseverance in finding the ideal location to train as it has been about building stamina and endurance!
Ok, Over To You!
As much as I am looking forward to this trip and the challenge ahead, this is about raising awareness and funds for the Alzheimer’s Society, so they can keep up the fantastic work they already do. I’d be so grateful if you’d visit our JustGiving Page to make a donation (and wish us luck!).
Or you can use JustTextGiving by texting BRMN99 + £amount to 70070