Long term supporter, Megan Tumilty from Coatbridge will retrace the steps of her nana’s life as she raises awareness and funds for Alzheimer Scotland.
Megan will take part in Scotland's Memory Walk next month in honour of her nana, taking in significant stops along the way. The 23-year-old’s nana, Margaret Quinn, was first diagnosed in 2011 aged just 59 and passed away last year after living nearly a decade with the illness.
On Saturday 17th September, Megan will be joined by her boyfriend Jordan as they walk a nine-mile route around the North Lanarkshire town, inspired by Margaret’s life.
On their way, they will stop in at all of Margaret’s homes, St Stephen’s Primary School - where she worked as a janitor - and other locations such as Coltswood Cemetery where she is buried.
A keen supporter of dementia awareness, Megan is completing her sixth Memory Walk and credits her nana as her “inspiration and motivation for completing the walk every year”.
While watching her nana’s disease progress, Megan has been motivated to make a difference through fundraising and even chose dementia as her dissertation subject.
The University of the West of Scotland (UWS) graduate completed her Social Sciences degree with a dissertation entitled ‘The Societal and Medical Misconceptions Towards Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease’.
Megan shared with us,
“When my nana got diagnosed, I was still quite young. I didn’t even understand it could result in death. I just thought she’ll have it, she’ll forget wee things over time, but it hit home when we got in touch with Alzheimer Scotland. We didn’t know how severe it was until it affected us."
Despite the tough times for Megan and her family, they prefer to remember Margaret as a “glamorous” woman who loved music, particularly Shania Twain.
Megan explained: “She went to see Shania Twain in concert when she was quite advanced with Alzheimer’s. She struggled to walk, only small steps, she couldn’t talk, she couldn’t look or lift her head, but she loves Shania Twain. My mum and my papa took her to see her at the Hydro and she loved it."
Megan is keen to encourage others to get involved with Scotland's Memory Walk, reiterating the help Alzheimer Scotland provided her and her family in understanding Margaret’s dementia.
“It’s such an important charity to raise money for and everyone who knows me well knows how important it is to me and how much I go on about it because you don’t realise how serious it can be.
We understood it better and we were there for my nana in the right way, the way she actually needed someone. You knew how to do music therapy, sit there and hold her hand, talk even though she wasn’t responding and we’re glad we at least had those moments with her."
You too can join Megan over the weekend of 16th-18th September in your own special location for Scotland's Memory Walk. Or you can support Megan’s Memory Walk by donating via her fundraising page.