Lisa has always had a passion for supporting people living with dementia and started her journey as a support worker then progressing onto university working in the dementia ward as a bank nursing assistant. Lisa’s dedication in pursuing a career as a dementia nurse led to her meeting her friend Kimberleigh and arranging a fundraising challenge to run 50 miles in one month to raise awareness of dementia. This is Lisa's story:
"I first learned about dementia while I was at college doing my HNC in Healthcare Practice. It was something I didn’t know much about as I have no family members with dementia, but as I learned about the condition, I became interested in finding out more about it and how it affects people. I saw a job vacancy for a support worker – a role working with people with dementia. This felt like a fantastic opportunity to get some experience, see if it was something I would like doing, and something I might want to do when I qualified. While working as a support worker, I really enjoyed being able to help people with dementia and learn more about the condition. It was a privilege to be the one to offer support to people and to build up a trusting relationship with them. During my time working as a support worker, I also saw the positive impact it had on the families of people with dementia. Being able to help both the person with dementia and their families made the job much more rewarding.
"At college, I would use Alzheimer Scotland’s website to help me with writing reports. I then began using the website to educate myself more on dementia so that I had a better understanding of the condition. I saw how much Alzheimer Scotland help people with dementia, their families and carers. I started to tell people about the charity and how it could help them and their families. Some began using the site themselves so they could learn more about the condition.
"When I started university, I began working for the NHS as a bank nursing assistant. This gave me an opportunity to work in the dementia ward and learn more about how we can help people with dementia in a hospital environment. Around this time, I began thinking about doing a charity run for Alzheimer Scotland. The more I learned about what the charity do to help people living with dementia, the more I wanted to do something to raise funds and awareness. I thought it was incredible what they do to support people with dementia, their family members and carers and it really inspired me to get involved.
"It was while I was at university that I met Kimberleigh. I had told her about my plan to run for Alzheimer Scotland and with Kimberleigh being a runner she agreed to do the charity run with me. This was great as it was something I did not want to do myself! I knew it would be a challenge and felt I would benefit from having peer support. Neither of us had ever done any kind of fundraising before, so we were both excited to get started. I set up the GoFundMe page with a target of £500. We also planned the miles we would run each week to achieve our goal of 50 miles in the month of June.
"On the day of our run, we wore our Alzheimer Scotland t-shirts and posted photos on our GoFundMe page and social media to encourage people to donate and get people talking about dementia. We managed to raise £545, and we were so excited and proud of ourselves for achieving this. To celebrate this achievement, I got a tattoo so that I could remember my challenge, as it was something I was proud of achieving.
"After the running challenge I wanted to visit the Alzheimer Scotland Centre in my area, as I had also thought about doing some volunteering work. This was something I had previously got the chance to do while on a community mental health for elderly placement. When I was visiting the centre, I found out they had a beauty room. This gave me the opportunity I was looking for, as I was previously a beauty therapist. I now visit the centre once a month to give beauty treatments to people with dementia and their carers. Seeing everyone so grateful and happy for their treatment really makes my day. It feels good being able to help those with dementia and their carers, helping them feel relaxed and cared for whilst getting pampered. It feels great being able to give something back. I am now studying to be a dementia nurse and am looking forward to the future."