On the 4th June 2016 I will be jumping out of a plane from a height of 10,000 meters while strapped to someone who hopefully knows what he's doing, in the hope of raising money as part of Alzheimer's Research UK's skydive. As someone that is quite averse to heights the idea sounds like a poor one but the cause is one that's close to my heart.
Rosamund Du Cane (then Staniforth) was born on the 4th April 1928 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 22,249 days later, on the 4th March 1989 she met me and from that day on she has been one of the true pillars in my life. Like many of our grandparents she lived through World War II and the Blitz and retained that good, hardy 'British spirit'. Something I always admired as she could always be found doing something, never an idle moment. As a child I always called her "Granny Wheelbarrow" as she could almost always be found tending to her garden, something she held a lot of pride in and one that was always stunning come summer.
Today Rosamund isn't tending to the garden, and the memories of the great life she's had fade like the flowers she's left behind. She has late-stage dementia and is doing well if she remembers to drink. She recognises for moments but they're transient thoughts and talks. Like a magic 8-ball you'll get a different answer each time you ask a question.
You have to learn to laugh to save being swallowed by how depressing it is. But depressing it is. Alzheimer's is a horrible disease that robs a person of what makes them, them. Going from interacting with someone on a near-daily basis for two decades to interacting like strangers. It doesn't stop on an emotional level, as currently she can't remember to feed herself among other things. Eating a bread roll becomes a fifteen minute task as you have to remind her it's there after every bite.
One day, people might not have to lose people they love in this manner. This is a day I would love to see come, and one ARUK has been working towards since 1992.
Please help me raise money to support Alzheimer's Research UK in the brilliant work they do. Thank you.