Monday, 5 December 2011

Are we forgetting something?

During my time as a Girl Guide, I have discovered that an almost foolproof way of raising money involves standing at the end of a local supermarket checkout on a busy Saturday morning and pouncing on unsuspecting customers. This is done whilst brandishing a bucket and informing them that not only can I pack their bags, but they can give me some money from the privilege. Normally, this works an absolute trip and the lovely people who trusted me with their boxes of eggs have not just helped me go to Germany but have also pretty much funded my trip to India next year. My local Tesco Metro has been particularly keen in letting us hijack their customer's packing (for this I am eternally grateful) with one perfectly reasonable condition: that we give half of the money we raise to their charity of the year. As it happens, their charity of the year is the 'Alzheimer's Society' which provides support for the 100,000 new victims of this horrible disease every year. It provides information, support and care for those suffering and their families, as well as being closely involved with leading scientists trying to develop cures, prevent the disease and care better for those who have it and Tesco aim to raise 5 million for this excellent cause by the end of this year.

Now, incredible as my bag packing skills are (I knew all that Tetris would be useful one day...) tragically my 'real' Saturday job takes priority, so the Tesco customers of Chippenham lost out to my talents. But my Mother was there, now she really is a dab hand at packing, and when I get home she told me about something that happened on Saturday: she was offered to pack an elderly gentleman's bags for him, and explained that whilst half of the money would be going towards a Girl Guiding trip to India, half would be going to the 'Alzheimer's Society'. Straightaway the man had his wallet open, and not only did he put his change in, but the notes were going in too, he was trying to put all of his money in the bucket, to the point that he was going to have absolutely nothing left. Straightaway Mum snapped into what can only be described as 'Mother mode' and tactfully began putting his notes all back in, whilst expressing her gratitude for the change and insisted the man kept his money.

Now, he could just be THE most generous, kind-hearted man in the world ever. But personally I think there were two, much bigger possibilities, I suspect that either he had just lost/was losing someone close to him with the disease or that he had Alzheimer's himself and recognized the word. Whatever the reason was, it broke my heart a bit to hear that story. 

Alzheimer's is a cruel, debilitating disease, it takes away memories, personality and character; in short, it takes away the person. It's horrible and terrifying to watch and is of course, incurable. Alzheimer's doesn't just make you a bit forgetful, it takes away literally everything, until they become a confused shell of the person they once where, no matter how incredible they once were. Unfortunately, I have seen the devastating effects of Alzheimer's, because my Grandad had the disease (he passed away in August), not only did it take away my Grandad (the cleverest man ever!) but it made my family really - for want of a better word - sad. The idea of maybe there being a cure, whilst it's too late for my family, could stop another family having it's heart broken, and that idea is enough to put a smile on my face.

So, if Tesco's where you do your local shop, I would definitely recommend you drop your coppers in the pot for this year's charity, you could be helping a family far more than you ever know, don't let those who can't remember be forgotten this Christmas. Oh, and if you see me with a bucket, Guide shirt and all, feel free to drop some money in there too!





1 comment:

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