Olympic sprinter Adam Gemili supports dementia walk

The World Championship and Commonwealth Games medallist takes part in Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk, after grandmother was diagnosed with dementia.

“I’m really proud to be supporting Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walks -it’s still a bittersweet moment being in front of London’s Olympic Rings on the day of the race I’ve spent the past four years training for, but coronavirus has forced us all to put things into perspective and I’m now focused on preparing as much as I can before I head to Tokyo next year.” – Adam Gemili

Olympian Adam Gemili revisited the capital’s famous Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park yesterday (7 August) and joined thousands of people who are completing their own Memory Walk this summer, to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society. Funds raised will help people affected by dementia who are in desperate need of support, after being the worst hit by coronavirus in terms of deaths.

On what should have been the day of the 100m relay final of the now postponed Tokyo Olympic Games, the British sprinter temporarily traded his gold medal ambitions for a more sedate walk against the backdrop of the familiar Olympic Rings.

Adam is supporting Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walks, just a week before his next competition in Monaco, after his grandmother was diagnosed with dementia. He joins a host of famous faces  such as Kevin Whately, Jo Joyner and Paul Whitehouse who are putting their best foot forwards to help the leading dementia charity provide support, through services such as Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Connect support line.

Adam was also joined by Edmonton-based fellow family carer Christine Seddon (69) and her dog Teddy, where they shared their experiences of caring for a family member with dementia and the impact of lockdown measures. Christine’s partner Victor, who she has been with 50 years next year, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in January of this year.

“After my grandmother was diagnosed with dementia, it really opened my eyes to how the disease can affect the whole family and it’s not been an easy journey. This is an incredibly hard time for people with dementia, and for family carers like Christine, and they need our help now more than ever. The money you raise from taking part in Memory Walk will go towards helping Alzheimer’s Society reach even more people through its Dementia Connect Support Line.” – Adam Gemili

People with dementia have been worst hit in terms of deaths and there has been a massive increase of ‘unexplained’ non-virus-related deaths since the start of coronavirus.

The abrupt suspension of normality bringing social isolation and a loss of routine has also had a knock-on effect on mental health and sparked an increase in symptoms. A recent Alzheimer’s Society survey of over 1,800 people affected by dementia reported that nearly half (45%) said that lockdown has had a ‘negative impact’ on their mental health and four in five (82%) reported a deterioration in people with dementia’s symptoms.

Alzheimer’s Society’s services have never been more needed, but the charity is facing a shortfall of up to £45 million in income. The charity’s support services have been a lifeline – used over 500,000 times since lockdown began. More than 115,000 welfare calls have been made by frontline staff and Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Connect support line has been flooded with thousands of calls.

Money raised from Memory Walk will help Alzheimer’s Society increase telephone and virtual support to help reach and support as many people affected by dementia as possible. Memory Walks are free to sign up to and this year, participants are being asked to complete their own walk at a time and location to suit them.

Instead of large, organised Memory Walks taking place across the UK, participants are being asked to complete their own Memory Walk at a location of their choice throughout August and September. To sign up and find out more information, visit memorywalk.org.uk

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