A man from Suffolk, who was diagnosed with young onset Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 50, is taking his passion for cycling to a new level in June, by leading a team to pedal 330 miles across the country in six days and raise funds for YoungDementia UK.
Peter Berry is a co-director of Dementia Help, a free online resource designed to support the growing number of dementia carers across the country, and he will be cycling alongside the founder and Managing Director of Dementia Help, Christina Neal, and its Website Editor, Dave Collison.
The challenge starts on Monday 25 June 2018 in Wales and ends on Saturday 30 June 2018 in Suffolk.
Now 53, Peter maintains a positive outlook and for the last few months, he has been creating and publishing videos online that give a unique insight into what it is like to live with dementia.
'I want people to understand Alzheimer’s and how it affects those who have the condition and their families,' says Peter. 'I know I only have a limited amount of time to do things before my health changes. I have been cycling for many years, but this will take me out of my comfort zone, which is a little scary but also exciting. I hope the Dementia Help Cycle Challenge will highlight the fact that dementia is not just a disease of the elderly. We want to raise a lot of money for YoungDementia UK, too.'
He and his family have had to come to terms with his condition and manage the financial pressures that arise when a diagnosis given to someone still of working age. There are at least 42,000 people in the UK living with young onset dementia. It is considered young onset when those it affects are under the age of 65.
Dementia Help, which has over 8300 Facebook followers, has a large audience of dementia carers and offers a combination of practical help, personal stories and advice. It was founded in 2017 by writer Christina Neal, author of the book Dementia Care: A Guide (Sheldon Press), after she spent 10 years caring for her late mum Hazel, who had vascular dementia.
'I am a great advocate of exercise to benefit a person with dementia,' says Christina. 'I also believe it can make a huge difference to the emotional wellbeing of dementia carers. When I cared for my mum, it was my gym workouts that kept me going. I haven’t been on a bike since I was a teenager but Peter’s enthusiasm for this challenge is infectious and Dave and I are excited to be part of the team.'
The Dementia Help Cycle Challenge is being sponsored by live-in home care agency, Christies Care, and cycling retail partner, Sax Velo, both based in Saxmundham, alongside nutrition partner, Munchy Seeds, in Leiston.
If you would like to sponsor the team, please go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/TeamDementiaHelp
The Dementia Help Cycle Challenge team will be setting off from Aberystwyth, Wales and cycling to Aldeburgh, Suffolk.
Day 1 Mon 25 June – Aberystwyth to Welshpool (52 miles)
Day 2 Tues 26 June – Welshpool to Telford via Shrewsbury (32 miles)
Day 3 Weds 27June – Telford to Coventry (52 miles)
Day 4 Thurs 28 June – Coventry to Huntingdon (52 miles)
Day 5 Fri 29 June – Huntingdon to Stowmarket (48 miles)
Day 6 Sat 30 June – Stowmarket to Aldeburgh (28 miles)