Sign up with Mo for Plymouth Memory Walk!

Touch typist Mo White looked at her computer while working in Plymouth – and suddenly had no idea what was in front of her on the desk.

That moment was her first step to being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 50. One year on she is urging people to unite with her against dementia.

Mo wants people to register now at memorywalk.org.uk for Plymouth Memory Walk, which takes place on Saturday 1 September at Smeaton's Tower.

“Hundreds of people have already signed up,” said Mo. “I’d like many more to join us to raise money to fund services and research.”

Mo, who now lives with her sister Vicky in Devonport, found her world turned upside down in a moment when she was attempting a routine task at work.

“I looked at the computer and thought ‘what is it, I’ve never seen one in my whole life. I didn’t know what it was, it was suddenly an alien thing. I had a breakdown.

“I just cried and thought ‘what’s the point of me now?’ – what am I going to do.  Soon after I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and I cried all over again.

“Within days, I decided it’s not going to define me, I’m fed up with crying, I’m going to live my life and enjoy every minute. It’s one thing I actually remember.

“I had a choice of either to give in to it, sit at home eating chocolate and crisps or live well with it until I can’t: and that’s what I’m doing.

“I’m not giving in to it. I’m not letting Alzheimer’s define me. I have Alzheimer’s - it doesn’t have me.”

Mo is supported by Immy Webber (20), a volunteer with Alzheimer’s Society’s Side by Side service, which teams up volunteers with people living with dementia.

The scheme gives people living with the condition the confidence to enjoy going out to do things they love, whether it’s seeing a match, visiting a favourite place or taking a walk in the park.

Immy, who is in her third year of studying business management at Plymouth University, said: “We enjoy each other’s company – I’ve been blessed meeting Mo.

“We go to a really good coffee shop and now I’m really happy to be supporting Memory Walk with Mo for such a good cause.

“I have had problems with my own memory so I wanted to learn about dementia – understanding it is a huge thing.”

Alzheimer’s Society is pledged to invest £150 million in the next decade in the search for better treatments and work towards a cure.

Teresa Parsons, Alzheimer’s Society operations manager, said: “Dementia is now the UK’s biggest killer, with someone developing it every three minutes.

“We’re calling on family, friends and teams to unite against dementia at Plymouth Memory Walk.

“Dementia devastates lives, but every pound raised through memory Walk will help us provide vital information and support, fund research and create lasting change for people affected by the condition.

“We are urging people to unite against dementia and register now at memorywalk.org.uk”.

• Anyone interested in being a Side by Side volunteer, or who is living with dementia and would like to be supported by the service, can call  Alzheimer’s Society Side by Side coordinator Sam Griffiths on 01752 609904.