A group of family and friends will gather together this weekend to take on Europe’s biggest zip line in honour of Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Friends ambassador, Stewart Black, who sadly passed away at the start of the year and who is missed by everyone who knew him.
The adrenalin charged challenge will see a daredevil group of 17 brave challengers known as ‘Forget Me Not Zippers’ take to the sky at Zip World Velocity 2, Penrthyn Slate Quarry, North Wales, to raise vital funds to support the work of Alzheimer Scotland.
Stewart spent countless hours volunteering and speaking to schools and businesses about living with dementia and how communities can support people in their local area by becoming dementia friendly. His can-do attitude, strength and the way he approached all aspects of his life dramatically changed the perceptions of what it means to live with dementia with everyone he met over of the years through his role as an active charity ambassador.
Clare Edie, best friend of the Black family, commented: “I met Megan at University around 15 years ago and we’ve been great friends ever since and when I first met Stewart we bonded almost immediately as we were pretty similar in so many ways.
“Stewart was just 51 when he was diagnosed with dementia. I do think people still think dementia is as an older person’s illness but it’s not so hopefully we can help raise awareness of this overall. Stewart never said ‘why me?’ and he didn’t allow dementia to define him. Everyone he met he would say that he was living well with dementia and not suffering. He always had such a wonderful outlook and will always be missed. On the night of his funeral we decided to sign up to the biggest zip line knowing that he had always wanted to take on the challenge himself. Signing up to challenge is a big on for us, we’re all terrified in our own way but we’re all looking forward to facing our fears and the sense of achievement we’ll all have after the event. And course at the end of the day we’ll all toast Stewart’s memory and legacy.”
Lorna Hart-Thomson, Alzheimer Scotland’s Dementia Advisor for Lanarkshire and a close friend of the family, said: “Stewart Black was Alzheimer Scotland Lanarkshire’s very own superhero. After receiving a diagnosis of early onset dementia at just 51, Stewart threw himself into raising awareness, reducing the stigma and communicating in his own way that it is possible to live well with a diagnosis of dementia and not to let this define you.
“As well as challenging people’s perception of dementia, Stewart constantly challenged himself and had quite a lengthy bucket list and completed quite a few things. The one event he would have lived to have taken on was this zip slide but due to health restrictions it was just not possible.
“In Stewart’s honour all 17 of us will take to sky to mark the life of an incredible man and hopefully hit our fundraising target of 5k to help support the thousands of families living with dementia across Lanarkshire and beyond.”
For more information and to donate to the Forget Me Not Zippers visit their Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/forgetmenotzippers