Anthony Whitney

My wife Donna was first diagnosed with 'some form of dementia' in September 2013, aged 51 and just two years after we had moved from Hertfordshire to Wiltshire, following my job relocation. By July 2014 we had a full diagnosis of Posterior Cortical Atrophy, a rare dementia characterised by visuospatial problems, typically young-onset and often rapid progression. The photograph shows Donna in 2006 with her lovely smile (which she still has), before PCA started to affect her.

We first got in contact with Alzheimer's Support for advice following Donna's PCA diagnosis while her needs were still relatively light. As the disease progressed, she gradually lost her capabilities and particularly the ability to entertain herself, becoming increasingly withdrawn and isolated. From September 2014 until Donna went into her care home, Alzheimer's Support provided ever-increasing levels of social and mental stimulation for Donna through the Home and Community Social Support service and the Mill Street Club. This undoubtedly was hugely beneficial to her physical and mental wellbeing, despite the progressive impact of her condition. I also benefited from being able to focus more on my full-time job and so keep my employment.

Eventually, by March 2016 Donna's needs became so great that the only really feasible solution was to place her into a care home, so ending her formal association with Alzheimer's Support. Since Donna went into care, I have continued to maintain contact and am always greeted with a cheery welcome whenever I pop into the Mill Street Club or Park Street Offices.

Two years ago, Donna joined the final leg of the 2015 Walk to Remember from Seend to Devizes, along with her sister Andrea and me. We were the last to finish, having found too many interesting distractions along the way - not least a narrowboat selling ice cream at the bottom of Caen Hill Locks. Sadly, Donna lost her ability to walk about this time last year, but I am back on the walk again this year from Bradford on Avon to Devizes along with our daughter Stephanie (Martin), and Donna's sister who plans to join us on the Seend to Devizes leg again.

The past five years have been tough and stressful, but I know that things would have been much, much more difficult had it not been for the wonderful help we received from Alzheimer's Support - alongside of course, family, friends and my employer. I am very pleased to take part in this event to raise money and awareness to help keep Alzheimer's Support doing so much good to help people with dementia and their carers.

Anthony Whitney