TELEVISION presenter Davina McCall’s dad and stepmum will be joining hundreds of people who have signed up to take part in a charity walk.
Andrew and Gaby McCall, who live in Gosport, are doing the Alzheimer’s Society’s Portsmouth Memory Walk being held in October.
The pair will be among others affected by dementia who are putting their best foot forward to raise money for the charity.
Last year, Andrew and Gaby took part in the Brighton Memory Walk but are this year bringing their efforts to Southsea.
Andrew was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 73, and is urging people to register for the event to help the charity raise money for research and services.
The couple has seen their lives transformed since the dementia diagnosis.
Andrew said: ‘I am blessed with a strong streak of optimism and there is no doubt that it has helped me come to terms with the diagnosis.
I’m doing what I am told to do by the professionals – no more alcohol, plenty of exercise, plenty of reading and challenging my brain to keep working as much as possible.
‘When it was suggested that I might like to register to take part in research into Alzheimer’s disease I leapt at the chance.
‘Why wouldn’t you want to do everything possible to help find a cure, or at least a way of slowing down progress of the disease.
‘I am full of hope for the future. Maybe I will not reap the benefits of research but I feel sure future generations will do.
‘Meanwhile, as a family we think it is very important to join together and support the work of the Alzheimer’s Society.
‘The Memory Walk is a great place to start. It was inspiring seeing all those people coming together to support one another and fundraise for people affected by dementia and all of our futures.’
Nearly 400 people have already registered to take part in the Portsmouth walk on Saturday, October 6 at Castle Field.
Last year’s event was attended by more than 3,000 people and raised £143,000.
Gaby added: ‘Taking part in the Memory Walk is a wonderful positive experience that can be shared with your family and friends and at the same time it reminds those living with dementia, and their carers, that they are not alone in trying to cope with the condition.’
In the UK someone is diagnosed with dementia every three minutes and in Portsmouth there are 2,247 people living with the condition.
Jane Essery, Alzheimer’s Society services manager for Portsmouth and the surrounding area, said: ‘Dementia is now the UK’s biggest killer.
‘We’re calling on family, friends and teams from across Portsmouth to unite against dementia this autumn. Walk with us at Portsmouth Memory Walk to help defeat dementia.
‘Dementia devastates lives, but every pound raised through the Memory Walk will help us provide vital information and support.’
For more details or to register visit memorywalk.org.uk