Ricky’s mother-in-law, Anne, was diagnosed with dementia last year. Now, the fitness enthusiast has set himself a series of endurances challenges to raise vital funds for Alzheimer Scotland.  

“Anne received her diagnosis in the middle of 2023. She had been on diabetes medication for many years, but over time, we noticed a deterioration in other aspects of her health. The sudden passing of her husband in 2022 exacerbated things, causing a great deal of emotional turmoil.  The grief she suffers daily has, at times, been overwhelming and she has been admitted to hospital on several occasions. At one point, she stayed in a care home for a short while but now supported accommodation in Inverclyde gives her the chance to live as independently as possible. Despite these challenges, her diagnosis still came as a shock and is something that our family continues to navigate.  

"In doing so, the support we have received from Alzheimer Scotland has been pivotal – it has really helped us understand what we’re dealing with. Lesley, our Post Diagnostic Support Link Worker, has shared invaluable information about how the disease progresses and how we can support Anne in the best way.  

"We have also attended a wonderful support group at the Inverclyde Dementia Resource Centre in Greenock, which has been a vital source of information. Hosted by Elaine, group discussions have enabled us to become more informed about different aspects of the disease and the best ways to help each other through. This is so important – my wife, Lyndsey, is her Mum’s primary carer, supported by her two brothers. Somehow, she manages to do this alongside running our household and considering the needs of our grown-up daughter, but also while coping with the demands of a high-pressured job which can see her work across multiple time zones, with frequent trips away. So, it’s a balancing act - but one that is important to all of us.  

“At one of the support group meetings, Elaine explained a bookcase analogy that really helped me envisage what happens when someone is living with dementia. If we imagine that all our memories are like books on a bookcase, each shelf represents a decade of our lives. The bottom shelf contains memories from our first ten years of life, and so on, until we reach the top, the shelf with our most recent memories. Dementia acts like someone is shaking the bookcase, causing some books to topple off. The top shelf is usually affected first, resulting in a lack of short-term memory. But just as the contents of the bottom shelf might be more stable and secure, people who are living with dementia might remember events from more than 50 years ago – their school days, for example. There are different versions of this, but it really helped me visualise what was happening to Anne and understand what we can do to help her.  

“I am an age group athlete for endurance sports, primarily Triathlon. I compete nationally and am also an International Fitness Trainer for Les Mills – which usually generates interest on my social media channels. This works well as it opens up these platforms to help me spread the word that health and fitness is integral to our brain health. This year, I have decided to brand myself in Alzheimer Scotland apparel and undertake a variety of fundraising events to help raise awareness and hopefully, some funds! I completed the Manchester Marathon in April and, kitted out in Alzheimer Scotland purple, I also completed a half-distance triathlon in May. In July, I’ll be taking things even further - racing a full distance event (3.9km swim, 180km cycle, 42km run). Wish me luck!”

Ricky took part in Manchester marathon to raise funds for Alz Scot
Ricky taking part in Manchester Marathon

You can support Ricky’s fundraising page here. You can also follow Ricky's fitness journey via his social media channels - Instagram and Facebook