Many of you know that I bring my dog Thatcher (yes her real name) into work each year to raise money for The Blue Cross Pet Charity. This year, I can't bring her in due to work commitments on the 16th, so instead will be taking her, and my wife Suzanne and two-year-old Isobel on The Alzheimer's Society's Memory Walk in aid of those caring for people with dementia. I'm also aware you can only ask for money once a year, unless you are Bob f'ing Geldof.
We will undertake one of the many Memory Walks taking place this month organised by The Alzheimer's Society - and will be doing the organised three mile walk from Hassop Station along the Monsal Trail. To be honest, it is not much of an ordeal is it? but I will ensure that my little girl walks the three miles there and back, or I will carry her - I promise not to use a buggy. If I think of any other ways to make it harder for myself I will - suggestions on a postcard please.
I know we are on hard times, but this is a truly great cause, that may affect some of us directly or indirectly as we get into the later years of our lives. Please give what you can spare :-)
As for why I am doing this.
My own father fell to this horrible disease in February 2008 and I cannot express what an awful and devastating illness it is for the sufferer and loved ones around them. Luckily my father receives excellent specialist care 24 hours a day, but many people are not so lucky. I want raise something in gratitude to those who look after my father and those who need care - the statistics speak for themselves.
According to The Alzheimer's Society
* There are currently 700,000 people with dementia in the UK.
* There are currently 15,000 younger people with dementia in the UK.
* There are over 11,500 people with dementia from black and minority ethnic groups in the UK.
* There will be over a million people with dementia by 2025.
* Two thirds of people with dementia are women.
* The proportion of people with dementia doubles for every 5 year age group.
* One third of people over 95 have dementia.
* 60,000 deaths a year are directly attributable to dementia.
* Delaying the onset of dementia by 5 years would reduce deaths directly attributable to dementia by 30,000 a year.
* The financial cost of dementia to the UK is over £17 billion a year.
* Family carers of people with dementia save the UK over £6 billion a year.
* 64% of people living in care homes have a form of dementia.
* Two thirds of people with dementia live in the community while one third live in a care home.