Well to those who know me well this is probably going to come as a bit of a shock, seeing as I don't exercise or walk anywhere (it just took me 4 attempts to even spell the word exercise then!!). In memory of my grandma, for Dementia Uk I'm going to Trek the Great Wall of China. I decided I wanted to do something that I will find very challenging both physically and mentally in order to completely smash my target and hopefully raise as much money for Dementia as possible. Obviously I'm not going to be trekking the whole wall as it is 5,500 miles long, but this September I will be trekking it for 6 days in a row. Apparently this trek involves a lot of climbing as most of the wall I'll be visiting is in the middle of nowhere, is very old, very steep and broken down. (I've actually stopped googling the Great Wall now as it's quite scary!!). For a long time I have wanted to raise money for Dementia UK in memory of my Grandma. Dementia is an incredibly hard illness to watch, not only devastating for the sufferer, but for the families that have to helplessly watch without being able to do anything to help. I was very close to my Grandma and still miss her enormously. I watched her deteriorate until she no longer knew her own surroundings, who I was and eventually even her own self. In the last few months whilst setting this up I have spoken to people about dementia and quite a lot of people have had family or friends that have suffered with dementia and recall what a terrible illness it is. Dementia seems to be affecting more and more people so I wanted to write a little bit about dementia to help people understand more about the illness. To begin with my grandma just started getting a bit forgetful which we put down to old age. Gradually over a few years her symptoms started getting worse and she was diagnosed with dementia. Luckily for us my grandma lived next door so it meant we were always there to look after her. One afternoon I popped round to see her and she was really upset and panicking. when I asked her what was wrong she said she didn't know where she was. I explained that this was her house and took her around to show her, but she just couldn't recognise any of it. I can't imagine what that must feel like, being in a place that you believe you have never seen before and having someone tell you it's your home. Other days she could be quite with it, but unfortunately as time went on her memory got worse and deteriorated even more. Not long after that she didn't know who me or my brother were and she used to refer to me as that girl that lives next door. She didn't understand the difference between day and night and she would walk out in the early hours up onto the main road. After this for her own safety (and with a lot of guilt) we had to lock her in at night and have baby monitors so we could hear that she was ok. We would put her in bed and say goodnight and before long she would be up and trying to get out. When you went back round there would be lipstick stuck in the lock on the door because she knew something went in there but she couldn't recall what. Some nights this would happen over and over again and no matter how many times you explained to her that it was dark and cold and not the right time to go out, she just didn't understand. One of the worst moments ever was when my uncle had come to have dinner with her. I was next door and I heard a lot of screaming. I ran round to my grandma's to find her collapsed in his arms unconscious and not breathing she was completely lifeless and her whole body was purple. Apparently you have to think to swallow food, it isn't something you just do naturally. Because of my grandma's dementia her brain had not told her to swallow the food she was putting in her mouth so she kept putting more and more food in and suffocated herself. Luckily I don't know how, but my dad managed to get all the food out and get her breathing again and an ambulance arrived within minutes. Because of this the doctors said it wasn't safe for her to return home and that she needed 24 hour care. On christmas Day 2005 I went to hospital with my family to see my grandma. I sat down hoping that after all this time and because it was Christmas Day she would hopefully look at me and recognise me. But when I looked at her there wasn't any recognition because to her she was looking at a complete stranger. Her eyes were empty and I got so upset I ran out without giving her a kiss or a hug or even saying goodbye. This is one of the biggest regrets I'll ever have as not long after that she died and that was the last time I ever saw her. These are just a few of the many upsetting things that happened to my grandma because of dementia. Before witnessing dementia I thought sufferers were blissfully unaware of the real world and lived in their own happy little bubble. But that is so far from the truth. Seeing someone who has always looked after you and made you feel safe, someone who had a great mind and a brilliant sense of humour become frightened, lost, trapped in there own body and deteriorate before your eyes is for me the worst thing I will ever see. Please, PLEASE help me raise as much money over the next few months as possible, by starting donations today. Your money will help fund medication for sufferers, your money will fund nurses to help sufferers and their loved ones and who knows maybe one day your money may help find a cure. I have under 9 months to get 'Trek fit' so any help, advice and tips would be much appreciated and are definitely needed!! As my mum said the other day "don't get me wrong we're very proud of you for doing this, but we're worried as you're a bit of a couch potato you know" haha. Please like and share this page to help raise awareness and hopefully lots of money too!!