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‘It is possible to live well with dementia’ Woman living with Alzheimer’s prepares for 100-mile cycle challenge

A WOMAN living with Alzheimer’s will cycle 100 miles around London later this month to raise money for charity and to  demonstrate that it is possible to live well with dementia.

Frome resident, Dorothy-Anne Bryant, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s three years ago, has signed up to take part in RideLondon, joining over 25,000 cyclists on a 100-mile trip from the Olympic Park, through London, into the hills of Surrey, before finishing on the Mall, just outside Buckingham Palace.

“On Sunday 29th July if all goes as planned, I will be biking 100 miles round London and Surrey in aid of Alzheimer’s Society,” explains Dorothy-Anne who is part of the preaching team at Holy Trinity Church.

“When I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s three years ago I was grateful that my self-worth comes from my Christian faith rather than my Oxford degree. Also the disease doesn’t hurt and I enjoy problem solving – my absent-mindedness and peculiarities in perception certainly provide interesting and amusing problems to solve.”

After having her driving licence removed by the DVLA because of the medication she had been prescribed, Dorothy-Anne began cycling more after seeking the advice of her psychiatrist.

“I discovered Frome Ladies Cycling Group on Facebook and went out on Sunday morning trips,” says Dorothy-Anne. “They were very patient with my walking up hills!

“When the Alzheimer’s Society asked for cyclists to do the RideLondon event to raise money for them I explained that I had the disease, was over seventy and rode the very occasional 15 miles. They accepted me on the team! Is another sign of dementia making bad decisions?

“Anyway, I am giving it my best shot. I joined the gym and found I could get better at sustained effort. Frome Ladies do not have to wait at the top of hills any more. I cycled across the Mendips to Cheddar and back on the 15th of June.

“My aim in entering the event is not so much to raise money, as to show there is plenty a person with a dementia diagnosis can achieve and enjoy.

“My unreliability means I can avoid committee work and other dull jobs with a clear conscience and concentrate on pleasant alternatives. With understanding and support from others, I still lead health walks and preach sermons regularly, as well as training for a long cycle ride.

“But what I really want to achieve, is to show it is possible to live well with dementia.”

To support Dorothy-Anne and to donate to the Alzheimer’s Society, visit:  www.justgiving.com/fundraising/dorothy-anne-bryant

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