Close shave as Devizes woman raises dementia awareness

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Joy Waite with hairdresser Nicky Moger after her close shave that raised £300 for Alzeimer’s Society. (PM1169) By Paul Morris Joy Waite with hairdresser Nicky Moger after her close shave that raised £300 for Alzeimer’s Society. (PM1169) By Paul Morris

Devizes fundraiser Joy Waite went to extreme lengths to raise awareness of dementia when she had her head shaved to support the Alzheimer’s Society’s dementia awareness week.

Mrs Waite lives in Elizabeth House, Moyne Close, Devizes, which is owned and run by the Guinness Trust.

Preparing for her extreme makeover, 64-year-old Mrs Waite said: “What prompted me to have my head shaved to raise money for Alzheimer’s is the fact that my husband is now in a residential care home, where he needs specialist care because he has vascular dementia.

“It’s been a very difficult time for all the family, but we’ve adjusted to the changes in my husband and learned to cope with the situation. So, I have had first-hand experience of how dementia can affect people’s lives.”

Her headshave raised £300.

The trust is supporting the Society’s Dementia Friends Champions initiative, where champions are available to present information sessions that offer clarity, knowledge and understanding.

Mrs Waite attended an information session given at Elizabeth House, presented by scheme manager Marilyn Keegan.

She said: “I found it very helpful in broadening my understanding of the disease so that I now feel passionate about raising awareness of dementia.

“I’m supporting Dementia Awareness Week and Dementia Friends so that we can live in a more dementia-friendly society where people can live well with the illness.”

She has sacrificed her hair to raise the profile of this initiative, which the Alzheimer’s Society hopes will include one million Friends by 2015.

Mrs Keegan is available to hold information sessions for local clubs, schools or organisations. These free sessions last about an hour and the only requirement is a comfortable environment for the participants.

Mrs Keegan said: “What Joy is doing is brave and amazing. This is a wonderful cause. We’re all so proud of her here at Elizabeth House.”

To become a Dementia Friend you can book an information session. Contact Marilyn Keegan at Guinness Care and Support on (01380) 723476 or 07775 703913.

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