Walk for a cure – and for your brain health

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By Nathan Choat | Thursday 28 March 2024

Last year, over 670 people took part in Walk For A Cure – our series of 5k walks to bring people together to put a stop to dementia.

They raised an incredible £146,000 in the process. And this summer, there are even more opportunities to get involved across the country.

Walk For A Cure is a fantastic opportunity to meet new people, remember loved ones and raise money for life-changing research, all in spectacular surroundings.

Following the very first event in London, 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: some had dementia themselves, some knew someone who did, and some 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.

“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.

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

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 cure it.”

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

Accessible exercise

At Alzheimer’s Research UK, we will not stop until we find a cure for dementia.

By taking part in Walk For A Cure, you’ll be helping to bring us closer to that goal.

But 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 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.

Instead 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: staying connected to the people around us is 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.

“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

By signing up for Walk For A Cure today and raising money for dementia research, you’ll be helping scientists find a cure – and helping to reduce your risk of dementia at the same time.

Visit the Walk For A Cure website to sign up for one of our 2024 events, taking place this summer.

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About the author

Nathan Choat

Communications Officer