FACED with the task of caring for her father, Stella Edwards has launched her very own charity to support dementia patients and those who dedicate their lives to looking after them.
After witnessing the effects of the condition first-hand, Stella, who became her father Samuel’s full-time carer when he was diagnosed with dementia in December 2010, decided to share her daily battles and victories with others in a blog – Don’t be Like That, Stella.
It has been a huge hit, and Stella, 41, has now set up a charity of the same name with one simple goal: to raise enough funds to organise day trips for patients and their relatives and friends.
She is now urging fundraisers to wear Mr T costumes and take a plunge for the fledgling charity at a group skydive at Redlands on August 23.
“It started as a blog but all these people were looking at it and I thought ‘Wow, people are interested in this’,” she said.
“Initially, I had decided to start raising money for Alzheimer’s Society to organise trips for members but it turns out that they don’t do trips. So I thought I would start a charity and do it.
“I want to do something nice for carers and patients, and for them to have a nice day together without being stressed out.
“I know that I am very lucky. I do a lot with my dad and we go to the cinema together. We are in a good place at the moment. “But others are not as lucky as me. I want to help other carers take control of their lives. And I want to give them a break.
“They might think they’re alone but they’re not. It’s a scary situation when it happens and you have to look after someone with dementia. You have to be strong and learn to compromise. I want to help others have the same experience as me and get out and about.”
She added: “We chose Mr T because he doesn’t like to go on planes. It’s a joke –in the A Team, they give him sleeping pills before they put him on a plane. We are also looking at setting a Guinness World Record for the most people dressed as Mr T.”
For more information or to sign up to the skydive visit dontbelikethatstella.co.uk. Each participant is asked to raise £300 in sponsorship, £110 of which will go to the charity. The rest will cover the cost of the jump. Deadline for registration is July 11.
To make a donation go to justgiving.com/ dont-be-like-that-stella