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West Suffolk: Forget-Me-Not appeal changed fundraiser’s view of dementia

16:34 08 May 2014

Dave Gooderham

Dave Gooderham

Archant

For the past six weeks, West Suffolk Hospital in conjunction with the East Anglian Daily Times and its sister title The Mercury has been running the Forget-Me-Not Dementia Campaign in a bid to raise £25,000 to help enhance facilities for dementia patients on the hospital’s acute wards.

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The aim is to pay for reminiscence materials, furnish a new day room and raise awareness of the condition.

The hospital’s fundraising manger, Dave Gooderham, has told how running the campaign had changed his view of dementia.

He said: “I thought I had a fair grasp of dementia. That it was something to do with memory loss, forgetting some simple everyday things. But I couldn’t have been more wrong.

“I had no idea about the sheer number of people suffering from dementia and the impact their deterioration has on loved ones.

“When we first started planning the Forget-Me-Not Dementia Campaign last year, I hoped it would be something that would resonate with the local community.

“But from the moment, we started going ‘public’ with our plans, we have been blown away by the response.

“Within 10 minutes of putting a simple message on Facebook, I had three messages from friends pledging support because they had family members who had dementia.

“Nor did I know about the fantastic work that is going on both inside West Suffolk Hospital and in the community.

“I have seen dedicated nurses buy Easter eggs and hot cross buns out of their own pocket to try and make a hospital stay that bit more bearable.

“I have been to a care home which has turned an area into a reminiscent pub to give residents something to talk and share memories about.

“The level of support we have received from the campaign has been simply amazing. Our current fundraising total exceeds £8,000 as we try to raise £25,000 in 12 months. But I firmly believe the Forget-Me-Not Dementia Campaign must go way and above fundraising.

“We need to challenge and change perceptions. We must push dementia higher up the agenda and ensure there is far greater awareness of the condition.

“It is easy to say the right things, but there needs to be action as well. And we pledge that every single penny raised during the campaign and beyond will be spent further enhancing the care and support we offer to our patients with dementia.

“Providing a day room and kitting it out thanks to a wonderful £5,000 grant from the St Edmunds Trust is a great starting point.

“Whether it is the lady donating all of her small winnings from the premium bonds to those pledging to jump out of a plane to raise money, we truly value every penny. Thank you all.”

For more information on how to take part in the campaign, call Dave Gooderham on 01284 712952.

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/forgetmenotcampaign or call into any of the EADT’s offices.

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