The Border2Beach team, consisting of brothers Struan and Lyle Anderson (whose late father Jonathan was a dementia sufferer), as well as friends Gareth Myles and Simon Clayton.

Cyclists tackle epic Beitbridge to Cape Town ride for dementia

Date: 22 August 2019 By: 

Viewed: 992

This weekend, the Border2Beach team, consisting of four amateur cyclists and good friends, will cover 2200km in a bid to raise funds to support the need for more caregivers trained in dementia care.

The team consists of brothers Struan and Lyle Anderson (whose late father Jonathan was a dementia sufferer), as well as friends Gareth Myles and Simon Clayton. Simon’s father has also been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. On 24 August, the team will be setting off from Beit Bridge on the Zimbabwe-South Africa border, with a plan to arrive in Cape Town on 7 September. September is World Alzheimer’s Month, and the trip follows a route undertaken by Struan and Lyle’s adventurous father decades before them by bike, at the tender age of 17.

Globally, an estimated 50 million people are living with dementia – a term that describes a group of symptoms associated with a decline in memory, thinking, behaviour, and the ability to perform everyday tasks – of which Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form.

Despite growing numbers of people affected by dementia, many dangerous misconceptions still persist, including the myth that this is a normal part of ageing, or that dementia patients are bewitched or “possessed”. These harmful misunderstandings and stigmas are what Border2Beach hopes to combat through word of mouth, a social media campaign, and specialist training for caregivers.

Livewell Villages – a specialised dementia and Alzheimer's care facility – has joined the campaign as the title sponsor. Livewell not only specialises in providing personalised dementia care for their residents but have been pioneers in the dementia care industry since 2010. They are dedicated to the same ideals as the riders: to raise awareness about dementia across the country, to work with communities, and to ensure that people living with dementia are treated with the care and respect they deserve. Other companies have also kindly pledged support to the riders, including Publicis Groupe and Willard Batteries, among others.

Dementia is more than just difficulty to remember facts; it is a progressive loss of independence, mobility, memory, and even personality traits sometimes. No cure exists and limited treatment is available, not least because dementia patients are mostly unable to advocate for themselves. However, through the personal experiences of the Border2Beach team, they have realised that early detection and the need for education around these symptoms can afford a family time to prepare and help combat feelings of stress and guilt.

Additionally, dementia patients require specialist care. Border2Beach wants to raise R200 000 to support the training of 80 caregivers. Alzheimer’s SA provides this education at a cost of R2500 per person.

To find out more about how you can support the initiative and the Border2Beach Psycle Tour, please visit (Article and photo: VICTORIA SOROCZYNSKI: Avenoir PR)





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