Walk and Wake Up to Dementia 2019

By Simon Ruppert

The sun was out and the birds were singing as participants gathered in Benalla's Botanical Gardens to take part in the annual Walk and Wake Up to Dementia event.

The community walk, which raises awareness of dementia, is now in its third year and members of the public joined Cooinda staff and local students to take part on Friday.

FCJ College Students take part in Walk and Wake up to Dementia 2019.

Walkers had the option of a full, or half-lap, of the lake with some Cooinda residents taking a shorter route through the gardens.

Before setting off, Cooinda Quality and Customer Service Manager Julie Folan addressed the crowd and thanked everyone for taking part.

“I'm standing in for our CEO Alex McKenna, who unfortunately can not be here today,” Ms Folan said.

Walkers cross the bridge

“This is a great event. It was initiated by Marg Aldous who was our CEO for some 10 years.

“Marg kick-started this event because she was very committed to raising awareness about dementia within our community.

“And three year's down the track here we are again.

“All of us at Cooinda are aware of dementia and the impact that it has on people, families and carers.

FCJ College Students take part in Walk and Wake up to Dementia 2019.

“We know it only too well because we care for so many people (who) live with dementia.

“So when we hear the research statistics it really makes us more committed and passionate about a day like today.

“Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia. It is the single biggest cause of disability in people over 65 years of age.

FCJ students walk past the lakeside mural

“Just within our community, in 2017, 400 people were diagnosed with dementia.

“That's a lot of people, and that was two years ago. So we know there's a lot more since then.

“So a day like today is so important. We need to be doing this.

FCJ College Students take part in Walk and Wake up to Dementia 2019.

“We need to get together out in the community to make people aware, to get people talking, and also to get people to understand the impact that dementia has.”

Julie thanked the community for making time to come out and walk before handing over to Cr Peter Davis who spoke on behalf of Mayor Scott Upston, who is currently on leave.

FCJ Students cross the bridge.

“Today is an opportunity for us to talk about dementia and the impact it has on us as individuals, as families, and as a community,” Cr Davis said.

“The council is very pleased to be part of this event and we thank and congratulate everyone from Cooinda who have made it happen.

“Cooinda is a very important part of Benalla and holds a very special place with the Benalla Rural City Council.

Cooinda staff dressed up for the occasion.

“Thank you all for coming out to help raise awareness of people living with dementia and their families.

“Walk and Wake up to Dementia is an activity which shows how we can fight dementia together as a community.”