A Stretford resident joined hundreds of people at a Manchester memory walk to honour her mother and late aunt, both affected by dementia.
The memory walk, held by the Alzheimer’s Society, was attended by many Manchester residents to raise awareness of dementia.
Hazel Alexander Howard, a mother of six and a Manchester resident, walked for her mother, who was diagnosed with early onset dementia this year, although Hazel begin to notice signs as early as 2016.
Hazel said: “She has got it so bad now and can’t be on her own.”
She grew up in Queens, New York, which is where her mother still resides.
She said: “It’s been hard, me being over here and her in America, but the family is taking care of her there.
“Mom was a single mum and sacrificed for all of us and my kids and I want to be there for her too.”
Hazel’s aunt also suffered with dementia and died in a house fire as she forgot to put out a candle.
The Alzheimer’s Society has expressed how pleased they were about the turnout for the walk.
Sue Clarke, the area manager for Manchester, said: “We are in awe of our incredible fundraisers like Hazel who went above and beyond to raise vital funds and awareness for local people living with dementia.”
“It was very moving to see so many people come together on Saturday to honour or remember their loved ones.”
The Alzheimer’s Society is the only UK dementia research charity to fund both biomedical and care research, funding research in dementia diagnosis, treatment and care, and is a funding partner of the UK Dementia Research Institute.
Because of her story, Hazel was given the chance by the society to cut the ribbon at the memory walk, which Hazel said was “an honour”.
The Alzheimer’s Society’s research has shown that by 2025 one million people with live with dementia and it will cause many more careers, partners, families and friends to be affected as well.
The society has found that deaths due to dementia have been rising more and more every year, and this year one person will develop dementia every three minutes.
Ms Clarke said: “Too many people face dementia alone. With the help of our brilliant fundraisers, we can ensure that everyone affected by dementia can turn to us for expert support through practical advice, emotional support, and guidance for the best next step.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped make this year’s Memory Walk such a brilliant success.”
For more information on the Alzheimer’s Society’s memory walks visit their website: alzheimers.org.uk/memorywalk
Image: Hazel Alexander Howard cuts the ribbon at the Manchester memory walk.