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Young lads support people with dementia

When 17-year-old Blake Nicholson was just six-years-old he lost his grandmother to dementia, something he did not fully understand at the time, but the sadness that surrounded his family is a memory he still carries with him today.

Blake, Head Boy at Westlake Boys’ High School, says it was a difficult time losing his grandmother Mary who was only 67 when she passed away, a shock that would take his family many years to fully accept and heal from.

In memory of his late ‘Nana’, Blake is one of many supporters heading out this weekend to shake buckets outside Countdown supermarkets across Auckland to raise funds for the Dementia Auckland Annual Appeal.

Blake, who is leading a group of boys from Westlake Boys’ High School in the fundraising effort, says, “I can still remember spending every Friday night at my grandparents; I loved going for walks with Nana. Even though I didn’t understand it all, I remember it being a really difficult time for my family when Nana passed away from dementia. I know first hand how hard it is on everyone around the person who is suffering from this horrible disease. “ Joe Cachopa, Deputy Headmaster at Westlake Boys' High School, says they are very passionate about creating a sense of moral responsibility among the boys.

“Students who collected last year said that it gave them a ‘sense of humility’ and so we are really keen to support the cause again this year.”

Instead of partying and playing sports, this team of youngsters will be out “shaking buckets and raising funds for something that is not necessarily a disease they will have to face anytime soon, but one that is close to their hearts and so they are keen to show their support.”

Dementia Auckland Chief Executive Rod Perkins says money raised this weekend will help them to support people with dementia.

“Two in every three New Zealanders will be affected by dementia in some way throughout their lifetime, because just like with Blake’s family, the impact of this disease spreads much wider than just those diagnosed. That’s why we do we what we do; there is such a need for support out there.”

Dementia Auckland supports people with dementia and their loved ones by providing information, education, support, and socialisation programmes. The team at Dementia Auckland is there from diagnosis, right through to residential care, helping people with dementia to live well.

Currently there are 15,000 people with dementia in the greater Auckland region; a number that research shows is expected to double over the next 15 to 20 years.

Volunteers will be collecting for Dementia Auckland outside Countdown stores across Auckland this Friday 30th June to Sunday 2nd July.

- Ends –

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