When Jacqui Woodward steps out for her 10km Memory Walk this weekend, it will be an emotional reminder of the impact dementia has had on her life and that of her family.
Organised by the Alzheimer’s Society, annual Memory Walks take place all over the country to support and remember those affected by all forms of dementia, and to continually raise awareness of a condition that affects almost a million people in the UK.
Jacqui, an accounts assistant at Linden Homes East Yorkshire, is walking the Humber Bridge route on Sunday in memory of her dad, Ray Goodman.
Ray, who had been battling dementia for five years, sadly passed away last November aged 80.
The past few months have been very difficult for Jacqui, her mum Pat and the rest of the family – but by joining hundreds of other people who also have the cause close to their heart, Jacqui feels she is able to do her bit to help raise awareness.
Her sponsorship is well under way, and Linden Homes has contributed £100 towards Jacqui’s efforts, along with messages of encouragement. She will be walking with the support of her husband Alan and daughter Jodie.
Jacqui poignantly recalls: “I will always remember the day my Mum told me that my Dad was putting his keys in the fridge and putting tins in the microwave. I laughed it off at first, thinking well who doesn’t do silly things like that? I am the world's worst.
“In fact there was nothing funny about it at all, especially when we were told he had dementia. But we still weren’t prepared for what this disease did or was going to do to him, in the five years he survived with the disease.
“The soul of my Dad was draining away from him, right in front of our eyes, and there is nothing you can do, but be there, and watch him going back to be very child like.”
After being cared for at home, the time came for Ray to go into a nursing home. Jacqui remembers: “He hated this so much that he escaped over a 6ft brick wall, quite a few times - making it very difficult for the staff at the home to look after him. Because of this, he was unfortunately put in a more secure unit, which in my eyes, was a very long and sad ending.”
She added: “I know it will be a very emotionally charged day, but I wanted to do what I could to help raised funds for such a worthy cause.”
To read more of Jacqui’s story or to add your support, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jacqui-woodward3
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