A West Cornwall woman who says dementia “stole” her parents’ happy retirement will soon embark on a tough charity challenge in her late-mother’s memory.

Nicky Winter is preparing for a 13-mile South Devon-based trek in support of Alzheimer’s Society’s vital work.

She will be one of thousands of people taking part in the event after witnessing the devastating impact of dementia first-hand.

Nicky, 52, from Redruth, is walking to stop dementia in its tracks after her beloved late-mother Nora Winter was diagnosed with the condition in her late-fifties.

“My mum learnt that she had vascular dementia not long after my dad took early retirement,” explains Nicky, a mum-of-one. “This cruel and devastating illness stole the happy retirement that my parents had planned together and took my mum from me far too early. I live with the heartache every day and the memories of seeing dementia turn my mum into a shell of the woman I’d known and loved.

“My 96-year-old aunt has also recently been diagnosed with vascular dementia. I can see the condition slowly taking hold, and it hurts.

“So I am taking part in memory of my mum and for my aunt to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society and its important work.”

It was after a family holiday that Nicky first realised something was seriously wrong with her mum.

“In the build-up to mum’s diagnosis, we went on holiday to France,” says Nicky. “She was always quite a fiery character, but mum started getting incredibly angry every time something didn’t go her way. She ended up leaving the holiday early and told me to return my door key for her house. It was obvious that something was very wrong, and for the next few months she didn’t want to do anything or go anywhere.

“When she eventually got her diagnosis, it was heart breaking because mum knew exactly what it meant and what lay ahead.”

Nora died in 2015 at the age of 72; after being diagnosed with dementia 12 years previously.

Determined to honour her beloved mum’s memory, Nicky, a civil servant, will take part in the tough South Devon-based expedition on September 10.

Aiming to raise £1,000, Nicky will trek through the English Riviera and take in stunning views across the water as she walks through woods, along cliff tops and past stunning beaches.

“On the day, my thoughts will be full of my mum,” says Nicky. “It is going to be tough going and physically a real challenge for me. But while I am doing it on my own, I won’t really be alone because I know that mum will be there with me.”

Nicky will join thousands of determined fundraisers taking on either a 13- or 26-mile trek at various Trek26 events in aid of Alzheimer’s Society across the UK this summer.


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There’s never been a more important time for Cornish residents to go the distance and come together to raise vital funds for life-changing dementia support.

Alzheimer’s Society’s services, including the Dementia Connect support line, have been used over six million times since the start of the pandemic but too many are still facing dementia alone.

Derek Dodd, Alzheimer’s Society Area Manager for Cornwall, said: “We would like to thank Nicola and all of our amazing fundraisers who are taking part in a Trek26 event for us this summer.

“Money raised will help Alzheimer’s Society reach and support more people through our vital services, which have been lifeline for so many people.

“There are over 10,000 people living with dementia in Cornwall. We’re calling on people across the county to go the distance and don their boots for a Trek26 challenge in 2022. Every pound raised will help Alzheimer’s Society provide vital information and support, improve care, fund research and create lasting change for people affected by the condition.

“We are in awe of the resilience of supporters like Nicola whose dedication to fundraising for Alzheimer’s Society ensures that we are able to support those who need it most.”

To sign up for an epic 13 or 26 mile trek in one of various breath-taking locations around the UK this summer, visit alzheimers.org.uk/Trek26

To sponsor Nicky go, justgiving.com/fundraising/nicola-wintertrek26southdevoncoast13miles.