Mum leads way as thou­sands step out for char­ity

Rochdale Observer - - MEMORY WALK - Stefan.jajecznyk@reach­ @sja­jecznykMEN

AMUM-OF-TWO with de­men­tia led 6,000 peo­ple in a walk for char­ity.

Sarah Park from Mil­nrow – di­ag­nosed with de­men­tia at the age of just 39 – led more than 6,000 walk­ers on their way on Satur­day, Septem­ber 29 at Manch­ester Me­mory Walk.

Ac­com­pa­nied by her hus­band Richard and Corona­tion Street star Richard Haw­ley, she cut the rib­bon to start the event, the big­gest held by the Alzheimer’s So­ci­ety any­where in the coun­try.

She said: “It’s re­ally bril­liant to see thou­sands of peo­ple of all ages and back­grounds from the Greater Manch­ester area unit­ing against de­men­tia in such a mag­nif­i­cent way.

“It was an hon­our to open such a spe­cial, very pos­i­tive event which I know will raise vi­tal funds for re­search to help sci­en­tists to find a cure and as well as raise aware­ness of the con­di­tion.”

More than 29,500 peo­ple are al­ready liv­ing with de­men­tia in Greater Manch­ester.

Sarah aims to bring at­ten­tion to the rights of peo­ple with de­men­tia and prove it’s pos­si­ble ‘to live life to the full’ af­ter a de­men­tia di­ag­no­sis.

For­get­ful in­stances that Richard no­ticed in the last cou­ple of years turned into her own di­ag­no­sis of de­men­tia. Her dad died of Alzheimer’s at the age of 40 and her grand­mother also de­vel­oped de­men­tia.

Sarah, who had to leave her job as se­nior car­diac phys­i­ol­o­gist for the NHS, said: “I don’t see my de­men­tia di­ag­no­sis as the end of the world.

“I was dev­as­tated to start with but I’ve kind of got over that now. There’s plenty more left of me yet. I’m en­joy­ing life on a dayby-day ba­sis I’ve got plenty to give my com­mu­nity.”

As well as help­ing to raise aware­ness of the walk Sarah has smashed her own fundrais­ing tar­get sev­eral times over and is now head­ing for the £2,000 mark for the char­ity.

Sarah hopes her work will help de­men­tia suf­fer­ers in the fu­ture.

She said: “I wish to make the best of my sit­u­a­tion and be pos­i­tive, to raise money for re­search to help find a cure for this hor­ri­ble dis­ease.

“Al­though I will most likely not ben­e­fit from any fu­ture treat­ment, I want to con­tribute to find­ing a ●●Sarah Park cuts the rib­bon to start the Manch­ester Me­mory Walk with Corona­tion Street star Richard Haw­ley and her hus­band Richard Park cure for peo­ple with de­men­tia in the near fu­ture, whilst I still can, which is why I’m sup­port­ing the Alzheimer’s So­ci­ety.”

To spon­sor Sarah, visit justgiv­­ing/team-sparky

●●Pic­tures by Chris Bull

●●Thou­sands of par­tic­i­pants line up for the be­gin­ning of the walk

●●Star guest Richard Haw­ley hands out medals to the par­tic­i­pants at the end of the walk

●●Nathan Hors­field (left) and Antony Rad­cliffe dress to im­press

●●Emma Roberts with daugh­ter Em­me­line Bar­ron, three

●●Two walk­ers reach the fin­ish line

●●Donna Lan­cashire and Grace Lan­cashire, 10, took part in the even

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