A Pudsey daughter is is encouraging people to dig out their dungarees and denim to help raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Faye Mitchell has helped raise more than £53,000 for the charity last year with her Denim for Dementia campaign, which encourages workplaces, schools and care home staff to dress in denim.
She was inspired to make a difference by her mum Carol, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s nine years ago, aged just 64.
This year she’s aiming to take over Pudsey Leisure Centre’s main hall on May 21 and create a huge pair of jeans made out of pieces of denim donated by local people with messages of support or to loved ones who are living with the disease.
And Faye is taking her campaign one step further, by working with local councillors in Bramley, Farsley and Pudsey to make them more dementia friendly.
Faye says businesses and services like leisure centres in those communities can support this by featuring denim displays in their windows. She added:
“Becoming dementia-friendly means business owners undergoing a short session to raise awareness of dementia, be able to recognise the signs of it and how best you can help people living with the disease by understanding how it affects them.
“Hopefully businesses will feel more confident in dealing with people who have dementia and that people who have it are more confident going in to their local shop or leisure centre.”
Faye already has councillors Kevin Ritchie (Lab, Bramley & Stanningley) and Dawn Seary (Cons. Pudsey) on board to help with Bramley and Pudsey, and is meeting Amanda Carter (Cons, Calverley & Farsley) to hopefully get Farsley on board soon.
Speaking to WLD last year about Denim for Dementia, Faye, 45, said:
“Mum was diagnosed at an early age, and I wanted to raise awareness that it’s not just a part of getting old, younger people can be diagnosed with it. People in their early 30s can have it.
“I was probably a bit ignorant about it at first, I just thought she would be fine and she just might forget some names.
“It’s been a horrific nine years. She has now lost her speech, she can’t walk, dress herself or eat by herself. I never realised how cruel it was. It’s like someone’s sat there in a world of their own. I don’t know if she knows who I am, I sometimes get a smile from her.
“The really sad thing is that she’s not had a relationship with her grandchildren. I was pregnant when she was diagnosed.
“The fundraising is about trying to get some positivity out of all this and raising awareness at the same time.”
Last year Denim for Dementia raised £53,000 – a figure Faye says she’s “well chuffed” with – and 11 local schools have already added their backing this year. The campaign is already receiving backing from people all over West Yorkshire and beyond.
The mum-of-two last year teamed up with friend Clare Brooke, from Bramley, for a heartwarming video. It features Clare, 42, singing Neil Diamond’s 1979 hit Forever in Blue Jeans, interspersed with video footage and images of people living with dementia, as well as many who have died with the condition.
If your school, organisation, business – or individuals – want to get involved with Denim for Dementia or help in making Bramley, Farsley and Pudsey more dementia friendly, e-mail Faye on firstname.lastname@example.org, check out Denim For Dementia on Facebook or @FayeGMitchell on Twitter.