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As thousands of people can give themselves a well deserved pat on the back today for completing this year’s Race For Life, so another event for a no-less worthy, but less well-known cause, is on the horizon.

This September, the Alzheimer’s Society will be holding the Portsmouth Memory Walk around Southsea, which will raise money to combat this terrible disease.

As with cancer, its impact on those who have it may not always be immediately obvious to onlookers, but its impact on those who have it is equally devastating, in different ways.

Anyone who has experienced Alzheimer’s in a family member or loved one will know how cruel it its.

What starts out as looking like absent-mindedness, sees sufferers slowly robbed of treasured memories and their dignity as the dementia progresses.

And ultimately it strips away the person you once loved, leaving them helpless in a child-like state and unable to do the simplest tasks for themselves.

At the launch of this year’s walk, Maureen Levesque says of her husband’s fight with Alzheimer’s: ‘It’s completely changed his life, and mine.

‘It’s something that destroys your life over time.

According to statistics, dementia affects 820,000 people in the UK, with 25m of the UK population having a close friend or family member with it.

It is also reckoned that dementia costs the UK economy £23bn a year – staggeringly, this is more than cancer and heart disease combined.

And with more than 2,000 people in Portsmouth believed to have dementia, but with many of them undiagnosed, it is more important than ever that we get to grips with tackling it and making sure the early signs are picked up on.

It is a disease that has no respect for your position in life or what you have achieved, and although more common as age advances, it can strike before you are considered ‘old.’

It is for these reasons that we would encourage as many people as possible to get involved and sign up to the Memory Walk.