THE Alzheimer’s Society is urging people to put their best foot forward by taking part in its Portsmouth Memory Walk this September.
It wants as many people as possible to sign up to the annual fundraiser, which will see participants take in the views from Castle Field, South Parade Pier, Canoe Lake and the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on September 15.
Mick Levesque, 62, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia five years ago and launched the walk with his wife Maureen, 62, and charity representatives on Southsea seafront yesterday.
The Levesques, of Ludlow Road, Paulsgrove, have been married 35 years and had to adapt to life with the disease since receiving the news.
Mr Levesque said: ‘It has affected us badly – it changed our life.
‘I look normal but I have got epilepsy too and I just don’t know what’s next – it’s very scary.’
Mrs Levesque said: ‘We are urging people to take part in the memory walk partly because Alzheimer’s needs to be recognised more.
‘Mick had a brain haemorrhage first of all, which was not good, but at least we knew he would recover from it. But once they said he had Alzheimer’s you know there’s no going back – the future is going to get worse.
‘I urge everyone to take part because you’ve got to bring dementia to the front of people’s minds.’
There are more than 2,200 people living with dementia in Portsmouth, according to the charity, and the money raised from the walk will go towards supporting sufferers and their carers.
Volunteer Pat Hewitt, lead fundraiser for the charity’s Portsmouth branch, said: ‘Apart from the money we raise, which was over £800,000 last year, we are raising so much awareness.
‘Get your boots on and come and enjoy the day.’
Natalie Bettinson, community fundraiser for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, issued an appeal for volunteers.
She said: ‘I want volunteers to help with signing people in, registering, leading the walk, and marshalling.
‘Even if you could only give an hour we’d love to see you down there.’
To register for the memory walk, visit memorywalk.org.uk