I took part in the Jog 50 challenge in memory of my lovely Mum who passed away from vascular dementia in February 2019. My mum was my best friend and I miss her every day. She lived with me for the last year of her life and when caring for her became challenging, I called the Dementia UK Admiral Nurse Helpline.
I wanted to give back to Dementia UK and so when I saw the Jog 50 challenge advertised on Facebook, I decided to take the plunge and sign up. I had plenty of free time as I was unable to work during lockdown and wanted to challenge myself whilst raising money for a cause close to my heart.
Michele taking part in the Jog 50 challenge
The Admiral Nurse Helpline is a lifeline
The Jog 50 challenge was a way for me to give back to the amazing nurses on the Admiral Nurse Helpline who supported me whilst I was caring for my Mum. I called the Helpline whenever I was having a difficult day or needed a helping hand.
The nurses are so knowledgeable about dementia, and it was such a relief to talk to someone who understood what I was going through. The nurses would offer me advice and they would listen when I needed to offload. Caring for someone with dementia is emotionally challenging and I was always re-assured that I was doing a good job. The Helpline really is a lifeline and helped me to carry on each day.
Michele’s sons joined her during the Jog 50 challenge
I am not a runner and so Jog 50 was definitely a challenge for me! It gave me the motivation to get outside and exercise, which really improved my physical and mental health. I was struggling with the loss of my mum and the challenge gave me purpose.
After I set up my Facebook fundraising page, I had lots of messages from friends who wanted to walk with me. It was such an amazing way to connect with people after lockdown and to catch up with friends who I hadn’t seen for a long time. We would talk about Mum on our walks, and I got to explore areas that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It was both emotional and exhilarating.
I couldn’t believe how many donations I received on my fundraising page; it was amazing. It was inspiring to read other participants’ stories on the Facebook Group and to support each other through the challenge. We all had different stories and experiences of dementia, but we were united by the same cause and were all part of #TeamDementiaUK.
I uploaded photos of my daily walks to the page so that my pledgers could see my efforts. I raised an amazing £1,200 in total which I am so proud of. Dementia is such a heartbreaking disease as you watch your loved one disappear in front of you. I felt like I lost my mum twice. I hope the money I have raised through the Jog 50 challenge means that other families won’t have to face dementia alone.