Warwickshire woman takes on Memory Walk for mum

“We want to make it a fun day to remember her.”

A Warwickshire resident has joined thousands of determined Alzheimer’s Society supporters, all conquering their own Memory Walk to raise vital funds for the UK’s leading dementia charity.

Debbie Hopkins, from Atherstone, will be completing a Memory Walk in her local area in March to support Alzheimer’s Society’s vital work supporting families affected by dementia. Debbie will be walking in memory of her mum, Ann, who passed away from dementia in October 2020, aged 74.

Debbie will join thousands of supporters, all marching out and completing their own Memory Walk, sponsored by Santander, throughout March. Anyone can sign up for free and choose a location and date to suit them at alzheimers.org.uk/events

Debbie said: “My wonderful mum, Ann, sadly lost her battle to dementia last year. She was a selfless person who had dedicated most of her life to helping others as she’d worked in the care sector. After seeing how dementia affected people and their loved ones, she always said it was her biggest fear. Looking back, I think mum suspected for many years before her diagnosis in early 2018 that she had dementia, but she wanted to keep her worries to herself to protect her children, and the grandchildren.

“Mum had helped so many people as part of her job and people in the community were always stopping her in the street to say hello. As she became more forgetful because of the dementia, she started to distance herself because she didn’t know who people were anymore, and as a result she became more isolated.

“During the lockdown last year, mum deteriorated quickly. She couldn’t grasp why our big, close family suddenly weren’t getting together anymore, and she concluded that it was her fault. She was ashamed, which is hard for the family to reflect on because she was such a good and loving person.

“My nan, who is 97, couldn’t see mum during lockdown because she was shielding. I will never forget the look of pure happiness on my mum’s face when she saw nan for the first time after lockdown.

“Mum was the most positive, selfless person I ever knew, and it’s heart-breaking that she had to endure this tragic disease. My children were the ones who originally wanted to do a Memory Walk to remember their nanna and to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society. We’re currently in training for our walk and have managed five miles so far. We’re getting t-shirts made with mum’s face on and we want to make it a fun day to remember her.”

Janice Le Tellier, Alzheimer’s Society’s Area Manager for West Midlands, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has been devastating for families affected by dementia. People living with the disease need us now more than ever, but the pandemic has hit us hard financially, despite an unprecedented demand for our services.

“We want to thank Debbie and her family, and everyone taking part in Memory Walk for us across Warwickshire. The money raised will help Alzheimer’s Society reach and support more people through our vital services, like our Dementia Connect support line, which has been used almost three million times in the UK since March 2020. It’s also in huge part thanks to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, who have raised £2.3 million for Alzheimer’s Society, that the charity can continue transforming the lives of people affected by dementia.

“We are in awe of the resilience of supporters like Debbie, whose dedication to fundraising for Alzheimer’s Society ensures we are able to support those who need it most during this difficult period.”

If you would like to take part in Memory Walk for Alzheimer’s Society, visit alzheimers.org.uk/events to sign up today.