News Satire People Food Other

Dementia Fundraiser a Ride to Remember

By Madeleine Gray on September 8, 2016 in News

Photo: Paul McMillan

Photo: Paul McMillan

You probably wouldn’t know it, but dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia. A predominant assumption is that dementia is simply a normal part of aging. News flash: it isn’t. Although it is more common in people over 65, dementia can happen to anyone.

Dementia is a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain: it is not one specific disease. At present, there is no cure. As there are currently more than 350,000 Australians living with dementia, this does not bode well. Without a major breakthrough in research, the figure is expected to soar to 900,000 by 2050. Something must be done.

Eastern Suburbs locals Pierre Sullivan and Nick Young both have personal experience dealing with the effects of dementia on family members. Mr Sullivan’s mother was diagnosed last year. Mr Young’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, in 2011.

As a memory-corroding illness, dementia does not just affect the primary sufferer.

“Being a carer is emotionally, physically and mentally draining,” Mr Young said. “The strain the disease places on family is tremendous.”

As such, Mr Sullivan and Mr Young, together with their friend James Trude, who has worked as a carer at Home Instead Senior Care for seven years, have this year launched the Home Instead Bondi2Berry Ride to Remember.

The event is a charity bike ride starting at the iconic North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club, and winding its way down to Berry on the NSW South Coast.

“We are riding to remember, to raise money for researching a cure so loved ones don’t need to keep suffering,” Mr Young said.

“I’m trying to do everything I can to not put my wife and daughter through what my mum is going through now.”

The aim is to raise $20,000 for Alzheimer’s Australia NSW, and so far the response has exceeded expectations.

“I am amazed at how many people are personally affected by the disease,” Mr Young said.

“We launched the ride about three months ago and within a couple of weeks had a lot of our friends in the cycling community sign up.”

Participants will need to pledge a minimum of $500 to take part, and are encouraged to raise more funds through private and public sponsorship.

Bondi Rescue star Andrew Reid is one of the Bondi2Berry ambassadors, and he told The Beast his decision to get back on the bike was a no-brainer.

“I thought my bike riding career was over, but when Nick told me why they were doing it I couldn’t say no,” Mr Reid said.

“To watch someone you love slowly deteriorating in the way this crippling disease does is just heartbreaking.

“If the money we raise can go towards finding a cure then that would be amazing.”

Channel Ten national news presenter Natarsha Belling is also an ambassador. She says, “It’s my absolute pleasure to support the Bondi2Berry ride, which is a great way to raise awareness about Dementia and support the ongoing fight to find a cure.”

The ride will take place on Saturday, September 10. To sign up, or to donate, visit