Walk for a cure – and for your brain health

Supporters cross the start line of Walk For A Cure with their children, in their arms and in buggies.

By Nathan Choat | Thursday 20 July 2023

This month saw the launch of Walk For A Cure – our brand new series of 5k walks to bring people together to put a stop to dementia.

These special walks are a fantastic way to come together with others who have been impacted by dementia in spectacular surroundings, remember loved ones and meet new people. And to top it off, raise funds for life-changing dementia research.

Over 170 walkers and 33 volunteers came together in the Lee Valley in London on Saturday 8 July for the very first event, raising over £20,000 in the process. Thank you to everyone who took part!

Afterwards, we spoke our supporter Hat Hewitt about why it was important for her to Walk For A Cure – and how walking is part of her toolkit for looking after her brain health.

Common purpose

As the walkers gathered at the start line, many shared their experiences of dementia. Everyone wore a different coloured lanyard to show why they were walking: whether that was because they had dementia themselves, they knew someone who did, or they had lost someone close to them to the condition. Dementia had impacted everyone’s lives in different ways – but all were united against it.

Boosted by this common purpose, the atmosphere before the event was vibrant.

“It was well set up and we had various stalls to walk around before the walk began. Lots of friendly staff and a free t-shirt and lanyard of your choice!”, said Hat.

“We also got the kids an ice cream too, which was a big bonus!”

Hat took part in the event for her mum, Laura, who was diagnosed with posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) at the age of 57. PCA is a rare form of dementia that begins by affecting a person’s vision. It’s a result of damage to brain cells at the back of the brain, most commonly caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

Hat and her sisters spent a long time caring for their mother and have witnessed the devastation of dementia first-hand. Reflecting on their experience, Hat highlighted the importance of awareness.

“People need to know that Alzheimer’s can happen to absolutely anyone, just as cancer can.”

“The more funds we can put into research, the sooner we can find a cure for it.”

Three supporters, including one baby, pose for a photo at Walk For A Cure.

Accessible exercise

Walk For A Cure exists to help fund life-changing research. With disease-modifying treatments like lecanemab and donanemab on the horizon, keeping this momentum up has never been more important.

However, walking is also an accessible way to get some exercise into your day – and help look after your brain in the process.

As the owner of a CrossFit gym, this is something that Hat is passionate about.

“Being involved in the health and fitness industry for over a decade I am a big believer in all forms of exercise being integral to a strong and healthy heart. And a clear and focussed mind.

“Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise and is so often overlooked.”

“There is no reason why anyone can’t do this event,” Hat said. “It was super accessible, there were marshals at regular intervals and plenty of spots to sit and rest.”

A healthy heart is key to a healthy brain, and Walk For A Cure shows that keeping fit doesn’t have to be daunting. As Hat put it, “if we can reduce our risk of dementia with something as simple as a little more exercise then I’m 100% for it.”

Community spirit

Walk For A Cure is far from a race. Rather, it’s a chance to get out and about, connect with other people impacted by dementia, and come together to do something about it.

As we know, socialising can be great for our mental wellbeing, helping us to stay happy and healthy. But that’s not all: it’s also a brilliant way to look after our brains. That’s because research suggests social isolation can increase our chance of developing dementia, with one study finding that it could be a factor in up to 4% of cases.

So staying connected to those around is a good way to help keep our brains in shape, and Walk For A Cure is a fun opportunity to do just that.

“I couldn’t recommend this walk enough for families young and old!”, Hat commented. “We chatted, played with the kids and enjoyed being out in the fresh air for a change.”

“It’s one of the easiest ways to give back to yourself, your mental health and your physical wellbeing.”

Get involved

The London event was the first of the Walk For A Cure series, but with the third and final walk taking place in Edinburgh later in July, there’s still time to take part yourself!

By raising money for dementia research, you’ll be helping scientists find a cure today. And by getting active and keeping connected to others, you’ll be helping reduce your risk for tomorrow.


Time is running out to register for our final Walk For A Cure event, taking place on 30 July in Edinburgh! To find out more and sign up, visit the event website today.

About the author

Nathan Choat

Communications Officer