Annmarie’s story of dementia in a loved one
Annemarie Kirby and her family, who live near Birmingham, have experienced the devasting impact of dementia first-hand, are set to join thousands of fundraisers going the extra mile for Alzheimer’s Society at Memory Walk.
Annmarie and her family are donning their walking boots on 17 September 2022 and are encouraging others to join them at the stunning Sutton Park in Birmingham to raise vital funds and awareness for the charity. Annmarie will be joined by her daughter Gemma, sister Val, grandson Tyler and her best friend of 55 years.
Annmarie’s ‘team Joan’ are putting their best foot forward at the heart-warming event after Annmarie’s mother Joan Husk (formerly Johnson) was diagnosed with dementia at 80 and lived with the condition for a decade, before she passed away in March 2019. Annmarie has attended every Birmingham Memory Walk since then in her honour.
Annemarie (61), said, “I owe it to the memory of our mom (we called her mom), who was our world, and this illness stole her, and all her memories. We had to learn to live with and love our two Mom’s, the mom we knew and the mom she became.
“Our Mom was our Queen, and she was the Queen of Dance, right up until a couple of days before she lost her battle with vascular dementia. In her younger days she was a barmaid, a blonde bombshell, my friends called her a film star! She always had her glam on, make-up and hair done, nails painted.
“Dementia was diagnosed when she was around 80, and it was simple things like searching for things, asking something that had been asked a dozen times, a little moody, but nothing my sisters and I couldn’t cope with.
“To be honest we all believed it wouldn’t get worse because she was our fighter. Eventually, we had to make the decision that we could no longer keep her safe, as we were all exhausted from doing 24/7 care.
“Mom was a few months off her 90th birthday when we lost her and had always said she wanted to jump out of a plane to celebrate. Just to give you an idea of the incredible woman she was.”
Memory Walk in the West Midlands
Alzheimer’s Society is encouraging people in the West Midlands to join Annmarie this September, to help people affected by dementia through some of the hardest and most frightening times. Memory Walk will bring together people who have been personally affected by dementia, those who want to walk to remember a loved one, and people looking to raise money for charity.
“It has never been more important to support Alzheimer’s Society’s crucial work. Too many people in Birmingham and across the West Midlands are facing dementia alone without adequate support. We urgently need to find a cure, improve care and offer help and understanding for people affected.
“We are in awe of our amazing fundraisers like Annmarie and her family who go above and beyond to raise vital funds and awareness for the over 84,000 people living with dementia in the West Midlands. Every step our fundraisers take will help us provide a lifeline of support for as many people affected by dementia as possible.
“We can’t wait to see walkers of all ages and abilities return to Sutton Park this autumn and I would call on family, friends and colleagues from across Birmingham and the West Midlands to put their best foot forward to support this vital cause.”Janice Le Tellier, Alzheimer’s Society Birmingham Area Manager
Hundreds of walkers have already registered to take part in Birmingham Memory Walk, which will be on 17 September 2022 at Sutton Park. Supporters can also opt to walk on their own, or with loved ones, on the paths, pavements, parks or pebbles in a location of their choosing throughout September.
Memory Walk events have been a regular fixture in the Autumn calendar for over 10 years, seeing half a million walkers raise over £41 million for Alzheimer’s Society.
Visit their website to find out more about organising your own Memory Walk or taking part in Alzheimer’s Society’s organised events this Autumn.