A St Helens carer has backed a charity walk taking place this weekend to help raise funds to support dementia patients in local hospitals to mark the end of national Carers Week.

Paul Growney, Brian Lightbody and Conor Heeney are set to walk 26 miles between Southport, Ormskirk, Whiston and St Helens hospitals tomorrow, Saturday June 15 to raise money for Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Charity.

And it will be a walk with a difference as the trio will be carrying a log weighing more than 30kg to highlight the “hidden’’ weight experienced by dementia patients and, in particular their carers, something that Jane Burgess is all too aware of.

Jane Burgess with her husband BillJane Burgess with her husband Bill (Image: Jane Burgess with her husband Bill)

National Carers Week highlights the work of people like Jane who has cared for her husband Bill, a retired Minister and hospital chaplain, for a number of years after he was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at the age of just 63 nine years ago.

Jane knows only too well the pressures carers suffer saying: “Being a carer is emotionally heart breaking and hard work at the same time.

“It was so hard seeing how Alzheimer’s affected my husband.

“He looked like Bill. He sounded like Bill but he wasn’t Bill.

“You seem to lose a bit of the person you love so dearly every day and that brings with it a daily sense of grief as you are watching someone you love so dearly suffer.

“You have to be there for them, and you want to be there for them. but it is really hard and there is no real respite care available. That is a weight all carers carry every day in whatever circumstances they have.

’’There is a lack of support out there that affects all carers and that adds to the worries and stresses of life.’’

Helen Walker, chief executive at Carers UK said: “Carers Week is an important annual opportunity to ‘put carers on the map’. We want unpaid carers to know they are not forgotten, and they are not alone.

“Many are at breaking point, facing huge challenges with their caring responsibilities. On top of this they are struggling to manage their own health and wellbeing. Carers are worried about their long-term health, security and ability to care in the future.”

Looking ahead to the charity walk Paul, an Associate Non-Executive Director for Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, came up with the idea and asked his friends to join him in the challenge.

He said: “Working in the care sector, and with my role at the Trust, I see the amazing care provided to our elderly patients and those living with dementia.

“We are carrying the log to symbolise the hidden weight families and loved ones’ experience. We want to raise funds for these vulnerable patients and to show support for their families.’’ Brian has embraced the challenge as he has personal experience of loved ones living with dementia.

He said: “Having had family members live with Dementia, I have seen in their last few years of life the devastating effects of the disease.

“It not only affects the individual, but all those who hold that person dear. Carrying the log to each hospital will only represent a small part of the struggles families face when caring for a loved one with dementia.

“We will hopefully raise much needed support for the hospitals and their patients.’’ The team will set off from Southport Hospital at 6am on June 15 and are hoping people will show them support while enroute.

They hope to reach their final stop at Whiston hospital by 6pm, competing the challenge in approximately 12 hours.

If you would like to donate to the challenge, you can go to the charity’s website at: www.mwlnhscharity.enthuse.com/pf/milesformemories2024

To find out more about the challenge or how you can get involved with MWL NHS Charity please contact the team at hello@mwlnhscharity.org or ring 0151 290 4400.