Rachael Maskell with John Hirst and Carol
Rachael Maskell with John Hirst and Carol

Rachael MaskellMP for York Central, sent John Hirst on his way as he walks to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Research in memory of his York-born wife, Pat. His quest to walk 70 miles from Pat’s birth place to resting place aims to raise awareness of early onset dementia. Pat was diagnosed in her early 60s and died at just 66 years old, having lost her speech, ability to swallow and loss of mobility.

At the start of Mental Health Awareness week, John, joined by his walking partner Carol, will wind their way through North Yorkshire and onto Stockton where Pat and John lived until her death in 2012. Their first stop was at the Bar Convent where Pat went to school, where they met the York Central MP to set out why it is essential that Government refocus their attention on Alzheimer’s Research as those experiencing dementia, including early onset of the illness, is set to rise sharply.

Currently 944,000 people are living with dementia in the UK, but 1 in 3 people born in the UK today will develop dementia. There is no treatment to prevent, cure or slow its progress and research is needed to enable scientists to understand more about the illness.

John and Carol were unmissable as they set off and walked through Micklegate Bar on the first leg of their journey, donned in bright orange outfits to draw attention to their cause.

Rachael Maskell MP said: “I am indebted to John and Carol for not only raising awareness about Alzheimer’s but also funds for vital research. With the increasing impact that dementia is having, it is essential that Government deliver the promised research programme so that the illness can be better managed and even prevented in the future.

“I am also so grateful to York’s Alzheimer’s Society for their work in ensuring that people are able to live the fullest of lives after they have been diagnosed, while also picking up tips as to how to manage the condition.”

For more information about John Hirst’s fundraising efforts, visit his JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/70atseventy

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