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Supporting Alzheimer's research.

In November this year, I am undertaking a Mission with a Cause, a trek organised by the United Kingdom Alzheimer's Society to raise money for their research into the disease, and I am asking for your help.

The project has come about in a fascinatingly "meant-to-be" sort of way. Last year in London, I saw an advertisement for the fundraising trek to the Sinai. My attention was caught, as I have always wanted to travel in the old Lands of the Bible, I Love hiking, my father has Alzheimer's, and he served for years in the Western Desert as a soldier in World War Two.

I have profound appreciation of what my father, and all those other remarkable young men, did for us during the war, and I am acutely aware of the personal cost to them. So much of what he experienced in the war was not good for him, shaped the man we came to know, and left its mark on his life with us. He did the best he could, and he did fine, getting better and better as the years passed.

Now, he is a little shell of himself. He doesn't know who we are when we visit, but our presence makes him smile. We spend our time singing him all those old favourite songs he once knew.

My four wonderful daughters had wanted to give me a trip to mark my 60th birthday. Instead of a trip, I suggested they become my fundraising committee for the trek. They were keen, as they saw it as a way to honour their grandfather. My youngest daughter Esther decided to do the trek with me, so now we need to raise $12,000 between us.

Doing the trek is my tribute to my father, and it seems so fitting that the fundraising is for the society that assists with the disease he has, and that the trek takes place where he spent such a significant part of his life.

For further information, see www.justgiving. com/paulabarnett. Guardian Healthcare has already offered $3000 in sponsorship.

Paula Barnett, RN, Auckland

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Author:Barnett, Paula
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:May 1, 2009
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