PARKS across Scotland were awash in purple last weekend as Memory Walks took place all over the country.
Hundreds of walkers of all ages donned their purple T-shirts at seven walks in support of Alzheimer Scotland.
Nicola Love, from Airdrie, participated in the Lanarkshire event at Strathclyde Country Park in honour of her mum, Margaret Quinn, alongside sister Sharon and nieces Danielle and Megan.
“Mum was diagnosed at 58 with early on-set Alzheimer’s and she’s now 64,” Nicola explained.
This was Nicola and her family’s first Memory Walk but they’ll be back next year in bigger numbers.
“I organised a babysitter but once I saw the atmosphere I wished I had brought my kids,” she continued.
“We didn’t know anyone who had been diagnosed at such a young age as my mum, so it was great to speak with people on the walk and realise there are others going through the same thing as us.
“Mum still lives with my dad, who is her full-time carer.
“We noticed it coming on. She worked as a janitor at a local primary school for 25 years and began struggling to fill in her time sheet.
“We also spotted a change in her personality.”
Eventually a diagnosis was made and Alzheimer Scotland appointed a care worker to offer help and advice. At the Forth Valley walk in Stirling last Sunday, three generations of Nan Oswald’s family showed their support as she got the walk under way.
Among her relatives taking part were Michael and Margo Kucsera, who came all the way from California to be part of the big day.
There were also walks held in Moray, Aberdeen and Wigtownshire, while two of the best attended were held in Dalkeith Country Park, near Edinburgh, and Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow.
Among those in attendance at Glasgow was Still Game and River City actor, Sanjeev Kohli. “There’s no one in my
family who has dementia but I’m well aware it could happen to anyone,” he said.
“As a country we are living longer, so this is becoming more of an issue.
“I think people are more understanding of dementia than we used to be and it’s important we take the power away from the condition by talking about it.”
Cutting the ribbon at the Glasgow walk was Ian Dunn and his wife, Agnes.
This was their third year doing a Memory Walk following retired engineer Ian’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis five years ago, when he was 71.
“Ian’s short-term memory is the real issue,” Agnes said.
“It was our son’s wedding recently and Ian can’t remember it. It’s a strange world for us, but he enjoys the moments at the time.
“He’s also physically fit and doesn’t take life too seriously.
“We’re part of a walking group and three dementia cafes, which has allowed us to meet lots of new friends, who are all going through similar challenges at varying levels.
“With Alzheimer Scotland around I know I’m never isolated and the Memory Walks are an extension of that.”
More fundraisers pulled on their walking shoes yesterday for the Fife event at Lochgelly, while another four take place today – in Dundee, Bathgate, Dumfries and Helensburgh. You can register and pay on the day.
The final Memory Walk happens in Inverness next Saturday.