Toria Hare I'm doing my small part by walking the 180 miles of the Offa's Dyke trail to raise awareness and some much needed funds for BRACE. I have problem knees so I will be breaking it into stages to complete.

I'd really like to raise as much as I can and don't see my target as an end point. Prepare yourselves for a lot of messages!

Please help if you can - however small your donation, it will help. Thank you

You can follow my progress on FB here... http://bit.ly/2qnoet5


WHY THIS MATTERS:

This is a cause that needs as much support as it can get. Sadly Dementia will affect more of us than you might think, whether directly or indirectly, and investment in this area is still low despite numbers rising. But research is making a difference and we can slow the number of sufferers if we have the resources to do so.

The cause also means a lot to me and my family personally. I feel uncomfortable sharing private information, but I am choosing to tell you a very small part of the story to perhaps illustrate the impact and the need for your help...

My dear father passed away in December after a long and terrible fight with Lewy Body Dementia. It is almost indescribable for both the sufferer and those close to them and I hope you will never have to experience the same. For at least 8 years our Dad went through a slow decline in varying stages. (It may well have been a lot longer but there is still so much that isn't understood). He went from general confusion, to years of horrific hallucinations, loss of cognitive ability and a disconnection from reality, including being unable to recognise those he knew and loved.

You lose someone who is still there. You watch them depressed, confused and in pain and can do nothing about it. They can't tell the difference between being hungry and needing the loo. A shadow or the edge of the carpet becomes a precipice and a plant pot an intimidating intruder. All you can do is provide care (we were lucky in terms of hands-on support, many are not). And no one tells you the shocking reality of when they do finally leave you - someone who is physically well and strong doesn't pass away because they are unwell, they pass away because they can no longer swallow.

There are over 100 conditions that cause dementia, only one of which is the well known Alzheimer's disease which is responsible for around 65% cases. Having also lost my much loved grandmother to Alzheimer's just 5 years ago, dementia is all too real for our family. One thing we did as a family was educate ourselves as much as possible. It was alarming how little was known by the medical profession when it came to finding a diagnosis for our Dad in the early stages. I think that by sharing and communicating more families can support each other. But it is research that is a really big part of improving this picture for others.

Thank you for your help. Toria Hare