To mark my 50th birthday in July 2021, I’ve launched an initiative to raise much-needed money towards research into dementia. We need to understand more about the causes of this awful disease so we can educate ourselves to avoid getting it in the first place, and we need to support the scientists working hard to find cures.
I’ve lived with dementia in my family for many years, and I’ve seen first-hand how it can destroy a person; change their character, reduce their abilities, take away their dignity. I also know how hard it is to stand on the outside and watch a loved one deteriorate slowly and horribly in the grip of dementia. How do you support them – especially when they’re in stubborn denial of their diagnosis – how do you navigate the care system to get your loved one the help they need to live their life as independently as possible, and how do you manage your own emotions and time as you respond to the twists, turns and curve balls of your loved one’s increasing needs?
50 at 50
I felt I wanted to celebrate turning 50 – that half century milestone is an achievement, right? I’m also keen to have some fun, and see what adventures I can have over the next few years. So, one evening, probably after a few glasses of prosecco, I decided to complete 50 challenges at the age of 50. A friend of mine had done something similar last year ahead of his big birthday, and I thought it was a brilliant idea.
Picking a charity partner was relatively easy – it had to be one that is supporting people living with dementia, and I specifically wanted to help fund research into prevention and cure. I spoke to the lovely people at Alzheimer’s Research UK, heard all about the amazing work they’re doing, and the decision was made.
So, here we are. New look for Shelle, new website for Shelle, new challenge for Shelle – well, 50 of them, to be precise!
I’ve set myself my first challenge, and that is to board a 57′ barge called Onion and help drive her up the River Thames, from Staines to Oxford. While on the boat, I will broadcast several radio shows on TFS Radio and River Radio throughout the week. Trust me; just the technical ramifications of that are a challenge for my little brain! Let’s hope it works.
Keep an eye on my social media feed for news of how that’s all going, and tune in to my shows to say hi!
Set me a challenge!
So, do you fancy setting me a challenge? I do reserve the right to refuse or adapt any challenges that I have a strong objection to for any reason, but, apart from that, I’m pretty much up for anything!