Mount Maunganui was a sea of purple this morning as hundreds of people gathered at Coronation Park for the Alzheimer's Tauranga Memory Walk.
“We had 250 people pre-registered and another 100 turned up on the day,” says organiser Julie Sargisson.
The Alzheimers Tauranga Memory Walk, now in its fourth year, falls during World Alzheimer's Month and is for people of all ages and abilities to honour family and community members that have been or are affected by dementia.
“Over 60,000 people in New Zealand have dementia,” says Jolene James, from The Breeze. “That number is expected to triple in the next three years.”
“My mum passed away last year after about seven years with dementia. It was really tough. I know what it's like and hopefully this event will raise more awareness of it. It took us a while before we realised what was going on for Mum. This is helping raise awareness and funds.”
After Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless spoke to the crowd, Tauranga Samba musicians, all dressed in purple, led the procession out of Coronation Park and into Salisbury Ave. Walkers continued on the 4km course down Pilot Bay, across to Marine Parade, up Banks Ave, and back to Coronation Park. The route was wheelchair, family and dog friendly.
Participants included groups from Hamilton and Tauranga, and staff and residents from Radius Althorp in Pyes Pa, and Carter House in Te Puke.
Funds raised will assist Alzheimers Tauranga to support people living with dementia, carers, family, whanau and friends to live as well as possible. The organisation works with individuals and families to provide personalised education and support, and offers support groups, activity groups and a volunteer companion and befriender programme.
“Dementia is a massive issue for those who have got it or are supporting someone who has got it,” says Julie. “But also for society because the number of people with dementia has increased and will keep increasing as our population ages.”
All participants received a purple Memory Walk t-shirt. For more information or to support the fundraising contact Julie on (07) 577 6344 or email email@example.com
Becky Parata, Oakly Macdonald (age 3) with grandmother Bev Carnie, Vivienne O'Neill, Gillian Russell and Tess Hawkins, all from Carter House in Te Puke.
The Kukutai family from Hamilton and Tauranga.
Marie Roberts, Noelene McLean and Neta Lawrence, from Radius Althorp.
Back row: Sukhbir Kaur, Marie Roberts, Noelene McLean, Neta Lawrence, Harry Singh, Aman Singh. Front Row: Ethel Smith, Terry McComish and Barry Humphrey. All from Radius Althorp in Pyes Pa.