Neither Annie or me crave attention or the media spotlight, but recently have found ourselves on the receiving end of both.
Some of this has been fantastic to hear. From good luck messages on our Facebook page, to kind words when we are out walking our dog Stumpy. Really positive vibes that have cheered us up throughout the intense but rewarding competition and made us see how we know this has been the right thing to do.
But at heart we are nurses, happy to help out and go the extra mile for our patients, but happy to keep out of the media glare.
But, quite unexpectedly, Annie and me briefly became media stars this week.
Cue some worrying about what to wear on camera, how much or how little make-up was needed (and before you ask, that was Annie not me!), where to have the cameras.
You may have heard me on BBC Radio Northampton talking to Annabel Amos about the house competition and the UnityDEM centre in town on Wednesday morning. Later in the day, you may have seen Annie and me on BBC Look East, too.
What to say was never in question because supporting dementia care and research is in our DNA. So, we both dug up the courage to ‘go live’ for the BBC and make some serious points during what is Alzheimer Society’s ‘Dementia Action Week’.
(Don’t worry if you did miss them – you can listen to and watch them again at the links above).
Firstly, that one in three children born last year will develop dementia.
Shocked? You should be, we were when we found out and we’ve encountered people with dementia throughout most of our combined 40 years as nurses.
But then, most of us will know someone who is affected by one form of dementia (there isn’t just one, you see).
And these people could be young or old for dementia is not an ‘old person’s condition’.
This is why centres’ like UnityDEM are so important. To sum up UnityDEM in a nutshell, it’s a bit like ‘brain rehab’, where people who have been diagnosed as having a dementia within the last year get ‘brain training’ from the team, workshops, exercises, trips out and more to get their brain exercised, so to speak. Just because you have a form of dementia, doesn’t mean your brain can’t receive a work out alongside your nearest and dearest, to help offset the spread of the condition, keep you at home for longer and, it’s hoped, reduce the huge amount families have to spend on private care and help (it’s about £35k on average, per year by the way).
So important, then we want to put some of the money raised from our ‘Win a House for £5 competition’ to go toward supporting UnityDEM.
We’re offering someone the chance to win a £600k house, which you don’t have to live in you can rent or sell, in a competition that is all legitimate with two firms of solicitors (ours and one of our partner organization, University of Northampton), but this is by the by.
When you have the chance to help fund a much-needed service in Northampton that you or a relative or friend might benefit from, you hardly need to think about whether you should take part.