Wicked musical performer leads the way for people living with dementia

Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld) is launching its very first Memory Walk & Jog charity walk in Toowoomba this April to raise awareness for people living with dementia, thanks to the efforts of a young Toowoomba local and lead performer in the upcoming Wicked Musical.

Louise Fraser, 32, a local music teacher at Lockyer District High School, decided to lead her own charity walk last year at Queens Park. The event was such a success that this year Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld) decided to select Toowoomba as one of its four Memory Walk & Jog locations in Queensland.

“I had three homes growing up. The theatre, my parents’ home and the aged care facilities where my mum used to work, and still continues to work, as a Dementia Advisor for OzCare Toowoomba” said Louise.

“Growing up, my brother Michael and I spent a lot of time at aged care facilities, playing music and chatting with people.”

“I always loved going there, but in particular visiting the people living with dementia at the centre and it was quite normal to me.”

“Leading my own DIY Memory Walk & Jog last year in Toowoomba to raise funds for people living with dementia through Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld) was just fantastic.”

“I really think that we need to raise more awareness in the community about dementia, especially with our kids, as many people don’t know that people as young as 30 can get diagnosed with dementia; it doesn’t just happen to old people.”

Earlier this week, Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld) released a new report called The Economic Cost of Dementia 2016-2056, that revealed that currently an estimated 25,938 of people under the age of 65 in Australia are living dementia, and this is expected to increase to 42,252 by 2056.

“I initially thought that it was just going to be friends and family attending the walk, but in the end we ended up having around 80 people there from all over the community who heard about it through word of mouth.”

“It was great to see all of the support and interest. We did a 2.5km walk around Queens Park, everyone at their own pace, and it was great to see so many families join in.”

“Dementia touches a lot of lives. It is not just people living with dementia, but it also impacts their families.”

“Just being present on the day is the most important thing as this is the best way to help raise awareness.”

Louise encourages Toowoomba locals to attend the event happening on Sunday 2nd April at Queens Park. Free T-shirts for the first 500 people registering. To register, visit http://www.memorywalk.com.au/

Opal Aged Care is the major supporter of the 2017 Memory Walk & Jog in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

Memory Walk & Jog is the largest fundraiser for dementia in Australia. In 2017, Alzheimer’s Australia will hold 18 Memory Walk & Jog events around the country to raise funds to support people with dementia, their families and carers, and help promote brain health and healthy lifestyles to all Australians. All courses are wheelchair accessible and there are different distances to choose from, depending on your age and fitness level.                        

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