A bikers ride out organised by staff from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) to raise funds in the name of a patient with Alzheimer’s disease who passed away in early spring, has helped the appeal reach the £3500 milestone, in time for Dementia Awareness Week (14 – 20 May).
The event which took place on Friday (12 May) was organised to help raise money for patients with dementia who are receiving care at Hammerton Court, NSFT’s specialist centre in Norwich, to enjoy days out. The appeal has been arranged in memory of 70-year-old Stanley Matthews, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in early 2016 and passed away earlier this spring.
This achievement has been made during Dementia Awareness Week which raises the profile of the disease, how to spot the signs and symptoms and offers advice about the support that is available.
Stanley Matthews passed away in March, but his family is determined to keep up their activities over the coming months, to raise funds to benefit other dementia patients at the Trust, as part of the Stanley Matthews’ Appeal.
Stanley was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, aged 69 in February 2016, just weeks after moving home to Costessey, near Norwich, to spend more time with his young grandchildren, from Turkey where he and his wife Rose had lived for nine years.
Rose Matthews explains when she first noticed changes in his behaviour: “I started to notice he wasn’t as sociable as he had been. When we went out with friends he would seem quite removed and then suddenly say something very random.
“He started to open the front door and shout to people who weren’t there and I just didn’t know how to handle him. We moved back to Norfolk in December 2015, and the rest of the family noticed a distinct difference in him. For me, it’s took a while to come to terms with it, as it all happened so quickly.
“After some persuasion we managed to get Stanley to go to our GP and the Trust’s community dementia team were immediately involved with his care. He was assessed and diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
“As he got worse, he went to stay in a respite home, but after a few more weeks he deteriorated further and was becoming violent with staff and went into a bit of a crisis. And so he had to be transferred to the specialist dementia unit at Hammerton Court, in Norwich.
“I visited him every other day in Hammerton Court where the staff were so supportive. It’s the small things like that which made such a difference. And you feel sure he received the best care possible.
“As a family we were absolutely devastated to see Stanley change in the way he did, but my daughter, son and I have pulled together. The support of the NHS staff helped so much.”
Rose and her daughter Emma Waller, decided to set up the Stanley Matthews’ Appeal after seeing how trips and outings gave him so much enjoyment, and are hoping the same will be true for other Hammerton Court patients, which is part of NSFT’s Julian Hospital site, in Bowthorpe Road.
“Last September we all went to an NSFT charity football match with Stanley and the difference we saw in him while he was out and about was astonishing. Seeing him cheering on the Julian Hospital team was when we started to think about setting up the appeal to organise transport for trips for Hammerton Court patients.”
East of England Co-op has included the Stanley Matthews Appeal as part of the Community Token Scheme across selected stores in Norwich and the surrounding area until the end of June. Every time someone shops at the supermarket, they can place a token in the collection box of their choice, with the number of tokens equating to a share of £1000 for the local charity or appeal.
Helen McVeigh who works with Emma at a local junior school in Norwich is also taking part in a skydive in June to raise money for the appeal and donations can be made via the Just Giving link below.
Michelle Stewart, Matron and Head of Clinical Practice at the Julian Hospital in Norwich, who organised the bikers ride out said: “We organised the event to try to raise awareness of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK. A quarter of a million people will develop dementia this year, that’s one every three minutes.
“We need to ensure that people diagnosed with dementia and their families get the care and support that they need. We may not yet be able to cure dementia, but we can certainly try to enhance the wellbeing of someone with a dementia. It is so important to try to keep people engaged in everyday activities, to give them a sense of belonging and the feeling that they are valued.”
For more information about the appeal, please visit the Stanley Matthews’ Just Giving page at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/emma-waller?utm_id=2&utm_term=2wP9azvd4
To find out more about dementia awareness week, visit: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/info/20167/dementia_awareness_week
If you are concerned about dementia in relation to yourself or someone you know, please contact your GP for advice.