Andrea first joined Alzheimer's Support as a volunteer, helping to spread the word about dementia after caring for her mother. She later joined the staff as an office assistant and continued to volunteer, fundraising tirelessly and giving talks to raise awareness about dementia. In April this year she was diagnosed with stage-four cancer after going to her GP with headaches. Andrea and her many friends in Wiltshire have thrown themselves into raising funds in the time she has left.

Writing just weeks before she died, she explains why...

Raising funds for charities has always been important to me. Where that came from, I have no idea but it's something I have always done. 

Alzheimer’s Support in Wiltshire became my absolutely most important charity and still is very, very important to me.  If you are able to donate or attend one of the events my friends have planned then I thank you from the bottom of my heart as it enables me to continue to support them even though I am physically no longer here to do it myself. 

When my mother was diagnosed with vascular dementia I was given absolutely no information about how this was going to impact both our lives.

I was not told about how best to care for her or how to make her life a little less confusing. No-one seemed able to give me the understanding I needed to support her to live with dementia in peace.  Then Alzheimer’s Support came along – enabling me to hang on to my mother for much longer, right to the end in fact, something that would never have been possible without them.

Becoming a volunteer

Alzheimer's Support provided me with the information and support I needed as a carer, and gave me training and the confidence to become a Memory Awareness Volunteer and then a Dementia Friends Champion.  At last I was taking this vital information into communities where it was often the only resource for everyday people trying to care for elderly relatives with no way of knowing whether what they were doing was right or wrong and with little or no support from anyone.   

We delivered our information sessions in libraries, scout huts, hospitals, fire stations, care homes, health centres, WI meetings, council offices, Scout and Guide groups – to name just some. We went whereever people were already meeting so it was easy for them. And it was so rewarding.

My knees used to knock for that first five minutes every time I started a session as I am not a confident ‘stand in the spotlight’ personality – but when the information started to flow and the questions came back, I know what we were doing was really needed.

How you can help

When I got my diagnosis in April the one thing I wanted to do was raise as much money as possible for Alzheimer's Support in the time I had left. This summer my friends in Wiltshire are organising a series of fundraising concerts and performances. I think what they are doing is absolutely wonderful and I just can't thank them enough. 

Donate in memory of Andrea 

Andrea (Pearce) Staniforth