Penrith Panthers hero Royce Simmons walks 300kms in 11 days, raising more than half a million dollars for dementia research

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Dementia Australia thanks and congratulates rugby league and Penrith Panthers legend Royce Simmons, who walked 300km in just 11 days, raising more than $650,000 to support the Dementia Australia Research Foundation (DARF).

Earlier this year, Royce publicly revealed that he had been diagnosed with younger onset Alzheimer’s disease, at the age of 61.

Royce was inspired to take on this challenge to generate awareness of dementia and raise much needed funds. The challenge saw him set off from his hometown of Gooloogong in central New South Wales on Tuesday 17 May, towards the place in Penrith where his footy dreams were realised - now known as the BlueBet Stadium.

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe AM said Royce's commitment to completing this incredible fundraising challenge has been truly inspiring.

“I extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to Royce for everything he has done,” Ms McCabe said. 

"Royce has displayed generosity and courage by sharing his story to raise awareness and has helped raise vital funds to support the important work of the Dementia Australia Research Foundation.

"Congratulations Royce on completing this incredible walk. It's an outstanding achievement and your endeavours will make a difference to the lives of Australians impacted by dementia, now and long into the future."

During the walk, Royce was joined by several fellow Aussie sporting heroes including Wally Lewis, Trevor Gillmeister, Brad Fittler, Allan Langer, Greg Alexander, Kurt Fearnley and more.

Royce passed through towns including Cowra, Blayney, Bathurst, Lithgow and Katoomba on his way to Penrith. Along the route, he conducted fundraising initiatives, and held events to support local junior Rugby League clubs.

“My thanks to Royce’s many supporters, the Penrith Panthers, the communities along the route who turned out to cheer him on, and everyone who donated and supported this incredible challenge,” Ms McCabe said.

Royce ultimately crossed the finish line in Penrith on Friday 27 May, just in time to see his beloved Panthers kick-off against the North Queensland Cowboys.

There are almost half a million people of all ages living with all forms of dementia in Australia. Without a major medical breakthrough this figure is projected to increase to one million people by 2058. Fundraising initiatives like Royce’s Big Walk play an important role not only in funding research, but also in raising awareness of dementia.

For more information on Royce’s Big Walk and to show your support, visit https://roycesbigwalk.com.au/

Dementia Australia is the source of trusted information, education and services for the estimated half a million Australians living with dementia, and the almost 1.6 million people involved in their care. We advocate for positive change and support vital research. We are here to support people impacted by dementia, and to enable them to live as well as possible. No matter how you are affected by dementia or who you are, we are here for you.

For support, please contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500. An interpreter service is available and the Helpline is open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday excluding public holidays. The National Dementia Helpline is funded by the Australian Government. People looking for information can also visit dementia.org.au

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Media enquiries:

Richard Coffey, richard.coffey@dementia.org.au 07 3014 6604

Sam Watson, Sam.Watson@dementia.org.au 0421 099 134