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Peter's story: "The Lapland Dash is the ideal way to help families affected by dementia"

Peter shares why he and his puppy Murphy, will be taking part in the Lapland Dash.

As someone who has lived with depression and anxiety for over 20 years, volunteering – usually with sport and sporting events – brings some meaning into my life. I have found that I can just about cope with short sessions of volunteering before the darkness of depression grips me too tightly to carry on, and it’s my way of helping when I can.

A man holding his puppy and a man walking his puppy

 

Last year my dad, who is in his late 80s, had a bad fall and spent several months in hospital and at a recovery centre. Initially he was diagnosed with delirium, but nine months after his fall, this was changed to vascular dementia.

My dad is thankfully now at home, where my mum – who is also in her 80s – is his primary carer despite her own mobility problems. My sister and I support them with transport, shopping and some TLC each day, but we have found it challenging to get support from local services. It has made me realise how hard it must be for people who have no family to call on, and wonder what I could do to help.

Recently Murphy – a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy – came into our lives. He is a bundle of fun and is like a therapy dog for my mum and dad, bringing them smiles, licks and unconditional love at every opportunity.

I wanted to do some sort of volunteering or fundraising with Murphy to help people with dementia and those who look after them. But finding the right challenge wasn’t easy – at only four months old, Murphy can’t walk too far, and nor can I, as I’m waiting for knee and hip surgery.

So when I heard about the Dementia UK Virtual Lapland Dash – which involves covering 10km across the month of December, in any way we like – I knew it was just what we had been waiting for. Murphy is also a ‘lap dog’ so a ‘Lap’-land Dash seemed perfect!

I have been staggered by the number of people wanting to support us – the number of sponsors has grown and grown, and we have had to increase our fundraising target four times! People have been so generous, with family, friends, my wife’s colleagues, people I have met volunteering, members of our walking sports group and my son’s hockey team pitching in. It shows how dementia affects each of our lives in some way and how keen everyone is to help.

The Dementia UK Virtual Lapland Dash is the ideal way for me and Murphy to help families affected by dementia – and for everyone else who can’t run a marathon, walk miles and miles or cycle for hours. We’re looking forward to making a difference!