BY IZZY WIGHTMAN
A student is set to walk a marathon next month to celebrate the life of her dad after he died from young-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Anne Manuel, 22 and living in Herne Hill, will take on the challenge of walking 26 miles around London to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society in June.
She will be doing it in memory of her father, Francis Manuel, who died in October 2018 – 10 years after being diagnosed with dementia at the age of 54.
Anne, who grew up in France and was young when her father was diagnosed, aims to raise £350 during the trek on June 1 – her 23rd birthday.
She said: “I understood what was happening, but I was 12 years old so I wanted to spend time with my friends. “The moment someone gets diagnosed they get put into a box, from family members to friends – to anyone around you.
“People forgot about my dad before he forgot about them.
“A lot of people would say ‘your dad used to’ and I was like ‘he is still alive’. It was hard for me to hear them say that.”
The London College of Communication student also emphasised the importance of learning how to communicate with those affected by being there: “They are trying to communicate with you but you aren’t entering into that way of communicating.
“It’s a learning curve. It’s a two-way thing. You have to learn how to adapt to communicate with that person.”
The marathon walk comes one year after the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, signed a pledge to make London the world’s first demential-friendly capital city.
This aims to help people with dementia to travel safely and live somewhere where they feel supported, understood and included in community life.
Anne is organising fundraising events and activities throughout the year to raise awareness of the condition which affects 850,000 people in the UK, 72,000 of whom live in London.
Patients whose symptoms start before they are 65 are often described as having young-onset or early-onset dementia, and there are estimated to be at least 42,000 younger people with dementia in the UK – many of these tend to have dependent children.
Community fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Society, Rebecca Greenbank, welcomed Anne’s decision to help raise money for the charity.
She said: “It’s wonderful that Anne is giving her time to support Alzheimer’s Society. Dementia devastates lives, but dementia won’t win. Until the day we find a cure, Alzheimer’s Society will be here to support anyone affected by dementia, wherever they are, whatever they’re going through.
We need more people like Anne to join us now and unite against dementia.”
To support Anne visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/annemanuel.
To sign up for Trek 26 London visit https://www.alzheimers.org.uk.
Registrations for this trek will close at midnight on Friday, May 17.