Long ride to fight young de­men­tia

Albany Extra - - Extra News - Jessica Cuth­bert

Greg Kelly is rid­ing to fight de­men­tia. De­spite be­ing di­ag­nosed with fron­totem­po­ral de­men­tia and younger on­set de­men­tia, 61-yearold Mr Kelly is tack­ling de­men­tia head-on by rais­ing funds and aware­ness with a ride across Aus­tralia, New Zealand and the US.

Mr Kelly be­gan his ride in Queens­land and has taken on hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres on his Har­ley-David­son with the aim of spread­ing the word about de­men­tia.

His di­ag­no­sis was a to­tal shock for him and his fam­ily.

“It was a com­plete shock, ev­ery­thing went out the win­dow but it was a re­lief to have a name,” he said.

“I was watch­ing my­self go mad from be­hind my eyes.”

Mr Kelly said his ride, Kell’s Ride; Spot­light­ing Young On­set De­men­tia World­wide, is about spread­ing the word and get­ting the mes­sage out there.

“I have to raise the aware­ness of this ter­mi­nal dis­ease, we have to let peo­ple know it’s the sec­ond-high­est killer in Aus­tralia,” he said.

“That’s what fired me up, know­ing that there are so few peo­ple who are aware of how big of an is­sue this is.

“We have to let peo­ple know it’s ter­mi­nal and there is no med­i­ca­tion, there is no tablet and it is pre­dicted to be No.1 killer in Aus­tralia within years.”

Mr Kelly said his main goal would be to see top earn­ing com­pa­nies do­nate just half of a per­cent­age point of their prof­its to not only de­men­tia re­search, but re­search for the top 10 big­gest killers in Aus­tralia.

“Ev­ery­one is touched by this and ev­ery­one will be touched by this; I’m do­ing this ride for all fam­i­lies, for your fam­ily, your kids and your grand­kids,” he said.

“We can’t let this be No.1 and a lit­tle bit can go a long way.

“There are times when I have stopped and I feel like no one is lis­ten­ing, but I know I have to keep go­ing.

“It’s about what you do not what you say, I’m fight­ing my dis­ease on my own so I’m rid­ing on my own.”

Ac­cord­ing to Alzheimer’s Aus­tralia, in 2016 there were 33,300 peo­ple liv­ing with de­men­tia in WA.

It is pre­dicted that in 2020 al­most 40,000 West Aus­tralians will have de­men­tia.

De­men­tia is the sec­ond lead­ing cause of death of Aus­tralians.

Pic­tures: Jessica Cuth­bert

Greg Kelly is rid­ing to fight de­men­tia and, right, the jacket he will wear, which sayy “Kell’s Ride for the fu­ture, younger on­set de­men­tia USA — Aus­tralia — NZ”.

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