Mags’ Walk 30 Challenge for her mum

March 11, 2021

My mum had been struggling with her memory since 2014 and was diagnosed with vascular dementia in December 2017.

Although she never forgot me, she forgot who other family members were, and how proud she had been of all our achievements. Her life experience had taught us all so much and she had been such a strong lady, always caring for us all.

I spent as much time as possible with my mum, and in July 2020 we were out for a walk by our local canal with a friend of mine when they suggested I took on the Walk 30 challenge for Dementia UK. During lockdown I had started to walk on a treadmill every day, as well as increasing the distance each day, so Dementia UK’s Walk 30 challenge in September seemed to me to be very achievable and I decided to sign up for it. I felt really motivated to do this, because as well as my personal circumstances, I had friends whose relatives were also affected by dementia. Then, finding out more about the challenge on Facebook motivated me even more, as I had not realised there were so many types of dementia and I wanted to help as much as I could.

Mags and her mum are smiling at the camera, walking along the canal, Mag's has her arm around her mum, who is in a wheelchair.

I saw from the Facebook group that there were people of varying ages and fitness levels taking part and that many people were doing it for their parents or partners, some of whom sadly passed away over the time we completed the event.

Embarking on my fundraiser, I asked all my friends and family for support. But my brother told me he would not sponsor me as he thought 30 miles was far too easy for me. I reflected on what he said, and this is when I decided to make my challenge 150 miles! Everyone was extremely supportive and generous with their donations.

I had my Dementia UK t-shirt and took a selfie every day to remind everyone of my challenge and show my progress. I was humbled by local people and businesses who would see me in my t-shirt, ask me what I was doing, and often contribute to my fundraising. I was lucky that the weather was nice most days, but whenever it rained my donations seemed to increase! As I neared the end of the month, I had raised over £1,500 and was so grateful to all my friends and family for their support.

Every day I would tell my mum what I was doing, the route I had taken, and show her my photos. She was so proud of me but would sometimes ask why I was doing it for Dementia UK. When we spoke about why, she kept apologising and telling me that she was becoming a bit forgetful.

The morning of the 29th September, I set off walking a slightly different route. I was so amazed by the sunrise that I turned to take a selfie with it in the background. As I turned to recommence my walk, I looked down to put my phone into my bag and hit a lamppost. I was knocked back into the road and was concerned I would not be able to complete my challenge. Thankfully, some kind motorists stopped and assisted me home, and my supporters’ generosity increased on hearing about my accident! A friend walked with me for 12.45 miles on my final day, bringing my 30 day total to 160.2 miles. The total I raised on my Facebook fundraiser was £2,190 – I was amazed and so grateful.

Mags is smiling in her selfie, wearing a Dementia UK t-shirt, with a sunset and lamppost in the background,

My lovely mum turned 90 on 16th December 2020 and unfortunately suffered a massive heart attack that same day.  She never recovered from it, and passed away four days later, while holding my hand. I miss her every day; I miss her questions and I miss us laughing at the way she used to get things mixed up.

For her funeral, my brother and I decided to ask for donations to be made in her memory for Dementia UK. Our friends and family had been so supportive in September, and continued to be, helping us raise £800 in donations. I will continue to support Dementia UK, doing what I can to ensure families do not have to face dementia alone.

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