This is my second year of fundraising for Dementia UK and I’m filled with anticipation as I’ll be tackling the RideLondon-Surrey 100 later on in the year! Last year I took part in the RideLondon-Surrey 46 which was an incredible experience. However this time I want my efforts to be bigger and better than before. I know it will be a challenge but I’m so thankful that I’ll be riding with Dementia UK again; they were so supportive and knowing that my efforts will help more families face dementia is another benefit.
My dad lived in a care home for four years. Although he didn’t have dementia, most of the people around him did. It was a difficult time but the people we met became almost family to us; we supported each other and shared a lot of laughter and tears.
It was difficult visiting my dad in the home; talking to a person who has lost all communication can be really hard. After speaking to some of the families in the care home, I also know that losing the ability to communicate can be one of the main symptoms of dementia.
The people I met and stories I remember at the care home were in equal measure sad and happy; sadness about what they were going through and happiness to be able to hear about the often unbreakable bond with families. Before meeting these families, I admit that I wasn’t as clued up on dementia as I should have been and I know now how devastating it can be. I want to support families to get the specialist dementia support they need.
The reason why I’ve decided to fundraise with a biking challenge is because of the fond memories I have with my dad when he taught me to ride a bike. We’d often ride down country lanes and I remember I would get to a steep hill, stop, get off and wander off up the grassy bank verge oblivious to him pushing both our bikes up the hill! I think cycling has been a way to get out and clear my mind but also think and remember the life we had when he was well.
I’ve put my thinking cap on for some creative ways to fundraise. Some ideas I’m looking into are holding a paid entry dinner or BBQ for friends and family. I also plan to get my place of work involved, either with a cake sale, a ‘pick a number game’ to win a prize or even a sponsored silence. I will also keep my Facebook page updated with my training progress to inspire people.
Last year I raised nearly £1,000 which was amazing. I’m looking forward to exceeding that amount this year. It’s my mum’s 70th birthday on the day of the ride and I know she’ll be doing her bit to support me, asking people to donate instead of sending her gifts. It’ll be amazing to have her there on the day along with other family members, friends and the Dementia UK cheer point. It’s amazing that so many people will be there for such a fantastic cause.