Department of Human Services’ Community Engagement Officer Heidi joined forces with her father Ken, his Maltese Poodle Chloe and 12 others earlier this month to complete the Memory Walk and Jog to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s Australia.
This cause is one that’s close to Heidi’s heart as she lost her mother to Alzheimer’s.
As a child, she often heard her parents talking about their plans to travel around Australia by motorbike once their children had grown up. But sadly this dream never eventuated.
“My mum, Sue, was diagnosed with early-onset dementia at 52 years old,” Heidi said.
“Unfortunately it progressed very quickly and we had to look into permanent care arrangements for her.
“When I visited mum in hospital, there were a lot of other people who had dementia as well, but they were a lot older.”
Sue’s health deteriorated quickly and she died just a few years after being diagnosed.
“It was a really hard time for all of us when she died,” Heidi said.
A few years after Sue died, Heidi’s father Ken took a few local rides, but was always disappointed to leave Chloe behind.
”Dad decided to make a seat on his motorbike for Chloe to travel around Australia with him,” Heidi said.
“He even set up a Facebook page called I Ride With Chloe to Fight Dementia.
“Chloe has a seatbelt so she is safe to travel at high speeds. She certainly draws quite the crowd on their trips!”
Now that he’s the Perth Ambassador for Alzheimer’s Australia, Ken regularly rides with Chloe to raise awareness and funds to help the organisation continue their work. They’ve already travelled over 140,000kms around Australia.
“Mum didn’t get to fulfil her dream of travelling around Australia, but I’m proud that Dad is doing it with Chloe,” Heidi said. “I know she would have loved the idea.”
- Learn more about how you can get involved with International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) this Sunday
- Find out more about Women and Dementia: A global research review
- For dementia services and support, head to Alzheimer’s Australia