As with anything in life, there are highs and lows. Since undertaking Trekfest for Dementia UK, one of my highs has become realising how fit I actually am. I’m a Grandma at 52 years old who has had major knee surgery. I’ve realised how important it is for me to invest in wellbeing and it’s certainly paid off! To be able to soak up the amazing views in the Peak District for a cause that I am passionate about was absolutely marvellous.
As for the lows, I can definitely say that the terrain was one of them. The boulders, rocks and pebbles were really hard to walk on. At one stage, when I was making the descent down Kinder Scout, I fell three times sliding down on my bottom and not knowing when, or indeed if, the end would ever come! I started the event with a work colleague but our fitness levels were very different and she had to pull out after 22k; walking the remaining 28k on my own was undoubtedly the hardest part.
A cause close to my heart
However, there have been lows prior to doing this Trekfest challenge for Dementia UK. My aunt and godmother was diagnosed with dementia over five years ago. Since then I have seen her turn into someone I don’t recognise. She no longer has any recollection of who I am, she is constantly distressed, she cannot communicate and she resists personal care. In short, she has become a shell of her former self. What saddens me is that she would be mortified if she knew as she was such a proud lady. She used to be in the circus and was an actress. She was very well-travelled too – she used to speak seven different languages fluently. It’s so sad and every time I visit I walk away in tears.
I also have other family members who have been diagnosed with dementia, including my dad who turned 85 this year. In truth, it’s everywhere I turn, and this is what makes it a cause very close to my heart.
I can’t tell you how much admiration I have for Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurses. Knowing that this service is there for others who may be going through a similar position to me is immensely heartening.
“…knowing that I was doing it for my aunt and other loved ones with dementia… helps put things into perspective”
With Trekfest, I have raised £900 and I am so proud that I actually finished. My achievement is massive; walking 50k in 14 hours!! My family and friends thought I was crazy but are very proud of me. It’s always going to be challenging, physically and mentally, doing something like Trekfest. However the support of family and friends, and just knowing that I was doing it for my aunt and other loved ones with dementia, can make the highs even higher and help put things into perspective.