Hannah holds acoustic nights for Dementia UK

Han-225x300Dementia UK fundraiser Hannah recently held two acoustic events to help to raise funds to support more Admiral Nurses. Hannah had a chat to us about why she held these events.

How did your two acoustic events go?

I organised two acoustic events where people could come along and listen to some talented live musicians whilst raising money and awareness for Dementia UK. The first event took place at my university and members from ‘The Singer-Song-writer’ society performed a range of their own songs and covers.

The other event was in my hometown in Blackwood, South Wales. This event was called ‘Acoustic Sunday for Dementia UK’. I spent most of the summer advertising the event, recruiting musicians, collecting raffle prizes and selling tickets. I was extremely surprised at how generous local businesses were in donating prizes for the event. I was also able to get some signed memorabilia from The Manic Street Preachers, Aaron Ramsey, and the Welsh rugby team to auction on the day. All the musicians performed for no cost and were absolutely phenomenal! The event had such a lively atmosphere and was full of people catching up and reminiscing as it’s a small town where everybody knows each other.

What did you enjoy most about the events?

The highlight of the event was being moved by how many people turned up and donated generous amounts of money for a cause that is very close to my heart.

The acoustic nights have raised £1,598.88 in total. I am most proud of the fact that this money will really make a difference to people’s lives as it goes towards providing families with Admiral Nurses.

Why are you raising funds for Dementia UK?

My grandmother has vascular dementia. Her symptoms worsened very quickly after her diagnosis and I found it extremely difficult to come to terms with it. I decided to channel my concentration into raising money for Dementia UK and helping other people and families going through the experiences I am currently going through. I have found fundraising to be a good coping strategy for me. It is extremely rewarding to know that the money you have raised can give people and their families the support that they require.

How has dementia impacted on your family’s life?

Many of our family routines have changed. For example, every Christmas morning the whole family would meet at my grandmother’s house and we would exchange presents-the atmosphere was always so lively and vibrant! Last Christmas, however, we visited my grandmother at the hospital. It was very difficult to leave her and have our Christmas dinner without her.

It can sometimes be challenging to communicate with my grandmother as she struggles to get her words out and her speech is slurred which makes it difficult to understand. I work around it by telling her stories about myself and limiting the questions I ask her. I give her lots of reassuring smiles and hold her hand so she knows I’m there for her.

Please tell us about your family life before diagnosis. What fond memories do you have?

My grandmother and I both share a love for dance and musical theatre. I remember I used to stand up in front of her, in her living room, and put on shows for her. She was my biggest fan and no matter how many times I sang the same song out of tune or danced the same routine she always appeared to be pleased to hear or watch me. I can still remember her now tapping her foot along to the music.

Does your family have an Admiral Nurse? If not, do you think having an Admiral Nurse would be beneficial?

Admiral Nurses could have helped my family to make important decisions for my grandmother.

Our family does not have an Admiral Nurse. However, it definitely would have been beneficial for me to communicate with one when I was struggling to come to terms with the diagnosis. I was not familiar with the charity at the time and instead I got some help from a counsellor at my university. In addition, my family struggled when trying to find a fitting residential home for my grandmother. Admiral Nurses could have helped my family to make important decisions for my grandmother.

Why do you think having an Admiral Nurse is so important? 

It is important to have more Admiral Nurses because the impact of dementia not only affects the individual who has it, but also the family members supporting them. It can sometimes be extremely challenging and draining to look after a family member with dementia, and having an Admiral Nurse can really help families as it provides somebody who understands and empathises with them alongside giving them the advice and emotional support they require.

We’d like to thank Hannah for taking the time out to chat to us and for raising funds for Dementia UK. Feeling inspired by Hannah’s fundraising efforts? Check out Dementia UK’s challenge events to see how you can help raise funds for more Admiral Nurses. Dementia has an impact on the whole family and Admiral Nurses provide vital support to all involved.