Save the memories 2015 coastal charity walk
A Northumberland woman left heartbroken by the loss of her mother to dementia is aiming to step up the fight against the disease with a sponsored coastal charity walk this weekend.
Gemma Little, whose late mum developed early onset dementia, is leading her second ‘Save the Memories’ walk from Craster to Amble on the Northumberland coastal path on Saturday 18 July.
The nurse is hoping to boost the coffers of the Alzheimer’s Society, whose staff aim to help people with dementia across Northumberland, and the Alnwick-based Blooming Well Project.
“Alzheimer’s slowly robbed my mam of her memories and her life and that was devastating,” Gemma said.
“It’s because of my mam that I want to raise awareness and funds in my mam’s honour to help others cope with and fight this terrible disease.
“Things are changing for the better now because there is more awareness and more research going on but, for me, it’s vital that we build on the current momentum.’
Gemma’s mum, Anne, who also lived in Amble, died at the age of 64 in 2006 due to dementia after a decade-long battle with the disease.
“All I want to do is help the rising number of people who are affected by dementia,’ said 31-year-old Gemma.
“Sadly, I’ve seen with my own eyes what a cruel disease dementia can be and that’s why I’m determined to do whatever I can to make a difference.
“It was heart-breaking the way I saw dementia affect my mum but it’s spurred me on to change things for the better.”
It is the second ‘Save the Memories’ walk that Gemma has organised. At last year’s event, over 40 people took part, raising over four thousand pounds for the Alzheimer’s Society. This year over 90 people have signed up.
“It was amazing last year because so many people took part in the walk that I’d never met before,” the former Coquet High School pupil said.
“There was a real buzz about the walk because so many people feel so passionately about dementia. I was really overwhelmed by the amount of support it attracted right across the community.
“Now I want to raise as much money as possible for the Alzheimer’s Society to help fund services, campaigns and research into dementia and for the Blooming Well Project at Alnwick Gardens
“But this isn’t just about money, it’s also about raising awareness of the disease as well because the more we get people involved in the fight against dementia the better.
“That’s why we are hoping people affected by dementia in the North East will come and join us to do their bit for a cause that is so close to my heart.”
The Newcastle-based Alzheimer’s Society community fundraising officer, Rebecca Scott, paid tribute to Gemma.
“People like Gemma are worth their weight in gold to the Alzheimer’s Society,” Rebecca said.
“Her support is vital to the work we are doing to make life better for people with dementia here and now and to fund researchers seeking a cure for the condition like the scientists at Newcastle University.
‘It’s when I meet people like Gemma that I really feel that we are heading in the right direction in terms of curing dementia and also creating communities where people of all ages are more aware of the condition.’
Anyone wanting to take part in the 14-mile ‘Save the Memories’ walk, which is due to start at 9am on Saturday 18 July from the Craster tourist information centre and finish at Angie’s Tavern in Amble, should email Gemma via firstname.lastname@example.org