More than one thousand Londoners raised money at a night-time ‘memory walk’ against dementia at Battersea Park.
GLOW brought Londoners from all walks of life to walk 5.5 km together with glow sticks, glitter and neon to shine a light on the condition on March 13.
The Alzheimer’s Society’s event aimed to collect money to fund research and improve the lives of the 85,000 people affected by dementia in the country, 76,000 of whom live in London.
Among the people who took part in the event was Fatimah Saleem, a 16-year-old student from Windsor Girls’ School, who walked for her great grandfather.
She said: “My great grandad had Alzheimer’s and he was my role model, the nicest man there ever was.
“We all deeply loved my great grandad. He was an inspiration to us so this cause is so close to our hearts.”
She originally planned to raise £160, but was surprised to see that she raised £312 from 16 supporters.
She said: “I would like to say a huge thanks to everyone who donated. It means a lot. Alzheimer’s and dementia have gotten the best of those close to me and I won’t stop until there is a cure.”
Claire Haires, events officer for GLOW London at the Alzheimer’s Society, said that the Memory walk is one of the 9 events that will take place across the country this year. The event had already raised £170,000 by the morning of Friday 13 March, before it began.
There were supposed to be 12 walks this year, but following the government’s advice regarding the spread of Coronavirus, three walks have been cancelled. The next ones will hopefully start in September.
Claire said: “The atmosphere at the Battersea Memory walk was really good. The people who came were really engaged. It was very uplifting to see people happy.
“We’re going to need support more than ever because a lot of the people who we’re supporting, the ones with dementia, are having to isolate.”
Linda O’Sullivan, Alzheimer’ Society London head of region, said: “Every three minutes someone in the UK develops dementia and there is currently no cure. But your fundraising can change this.”
Night walkers received a pack with everything needed for the event after they contributed a £10 entry free.
Dementia is expected to reach 1 million people by 2021 and soar to 2 million by 2051. It is considered to be the biggest killer in the UK, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.