Former pub landlady's dementia battle inspires grandson to scale new heights for Alzheimer's charity
A man has scaled Africa's highest mountain to raise awareness of dementia in honour of his grandmother.
Connor Georgeson inspired by his grandmother’s battle with the condition to help him to reach the peak of Kilimanjaro - the world’s highest free-standing mountain.
To date, the gruelling challenge which took a week to complete, has raised more than £6,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Former pub landlady Margaret Dunkley, 81, of South Shields, was diagnosed with dementia 10 years ago and now lives in a care home in Hebburn.
Connor, 22, from Boldon Colliery said: “I’ve always been close to grandma and, because of her condition, I really wanted to do something for Alzheimer’s Society.
“Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro was the toughest physical as well as mental challenge of my life. At times I felt like giving up but keeping both my grandma and mam in mind kept me going.
“I wanted to make them proud.”
Margaret was a well-known publican in the region, having run numerous establishments including both the West Park and The Albion, in South Shields; The Cliff, in Roker, Sunderland; and the George and Dragon in Durham.
Connor’s mum Marie, said: “Connor is such a loving, kind, thoughtful and compassionate young man – I am proud to call him my son.
“It was a really tough five-day climb followed by another two days to get back – a third of those who took part didn’t complete it due to the intensity of the climb and altitude problems.”
“I’ve had a lot of support from the charity over the past few years, particularly when it came to the difficult decision of moving my mam from her house to a care home.
“If I could give any family member advice about loved ones who have been diagnosed with dementia it would be to show great empathy, don’t correct them, move into their reality and finally contact the Alzheimer’s society for support.”
Lucy King, Alzheimer’s Society Community Fundraiser, North East, said: “It’s amazing the lengths people will go to help raise money and awareness. But I have to say I’m especially impressed with what Connor has done both in term of the effort involved and the fantastic sum he has raised.”
To make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/connor-georgeson