With the Midlothian Memory Walk just weeks away a Penicuik fundraiser has told how important she feels it is to raise awareness of dementia.
The annual 3km and 5km charity walks take place in Dalkeith Country Park on September 23, with local people encouraged to sign up.
Ann Yourston (52) first took part in the event in 2016. As well as doing this year’s walk with her husband Barry, she will also take on the Great Wall of China in October with her friend Ann Robertson.
She said: “My parents both had dementia at the same time and died within three months of each other. My aunt is living with dementia at the moment. My husband’s grandma Nana Peg had it. And my friend Lisa’s mum is living with dementia.
“So it has affected a lot of people I know. It can affect so many people’s lives. Including the people around those who have dementia. It has a huge impact.
“It’s something I’m very passionate about. We need to talk about dementia and get it out in the open.
“I’m a great believer in that if you talk about something it makes it less scary. There is a fantastic community of people living with dementia out there on social media. With great examples of how you can live with dementia.
“The more we talk about it the more people know about it and more money can be raised for research to fight it.”
The Port of Leith Housing Association housing officer is looking forward to this year’s walk at Dalkeith Country Park.
She said: “It’s a great thing, raising awareness, and it’s just a great day. It’s such a good atmosphere. Hundreds of folk there for a good afternoon out. Everyone is really friendly. All with experiences of dementia.
“It’s also tying in with Alzheimer Scotland’s message that physical exercise helps stave of mental illness.
“It’s a win-win situation. Staying fit and raising money.”
Ann is also gearing up for her 40km five day trek in China: “It’s not hugely far in terms of distance but very steep and going off the beaten track.
“It’s very exciting. Especially now it’s just around the corner. I signed up this time last year and though ‘that’s ages away’. And now it’s just seven weeks to go!
“I have been walking to work instead of taking the car, getting off the bus a bit early, and I walk at the weekends and in the evenings.”