Rider and committee member, Tom Chard, shares his journey of dementia understanding post his Mum being diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s and how it has ignited a fire inside him to learn more and educate others.
Why were you inspired to take part in 2018’s B2B?
After my mum was diagnosed with Dementia (Early Onset Alzheimers) I quickly became absorbed in learning about the disease and what it is. By being a part of this ride, I get to put my body on the line to help raise much needed awareness and funds for such an incredibly under-funded disease. Without my mum I wouldn’t be here and when we received the diagnosis we were shattered. But she is dealing with it so well that I am doing anything I can to help her and Dementia sufferers elsewhere.
How was the day?
It was a dark and cold morning where I had three punctures before 6am!! Although it turned out to be an incredible day. At times it was quite cathartic and sombre especially when stopping in towns such as Kiama but overall an overwhelming positive experience. The bike ride itself is challenging, although the fantastic people you get to do it with is the best part.
How did you find the organised training rides?
The organised training sessions are fantastic, mostly to meet the other legends you’ll be riding along side with.
Did your riding and fitness improve from taking part?
Definitely, too often it’s hard to find reasons to get outside in the cold and go on a long gruelling ride, although once you have some structure you quickly notice improvements in your fitness (not just on the bike either).
Are you taking part in the 2019 B2B?
Yes and I cannot wait!! I registered as soon as I was alerted to the ride. I am lucky to have registered for the Bondi2Brighton 1,200km 8-day adventure this year and I am absolutely pumped!!
How did you raise money for the ride?
Fundraising is a tough one, especially these days with so many fantastic causes all competing for your dollar. I’ve been able to spread the message through my friends and family, especially on social media, to raise awareness as to what I’m doing and why.
Would you recommend B2B to others?
Even if you don’t know anyone with dementia right now, it doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. Dementia Australia and the fantastic cause aside, it’s just a bloody good day out on your bike with like-minded people. Get involved if you haven’t, you won’t regret it.
Anything else you would like to tell people?
Once you learn more about Dementia and the Dementia-related illnesses, it’s hard not to become passionate for the cause to raise awareness and funds for research into this disease. To see how this has affected my mum to date and thankfully she’s still dealing with it all really well has ignited a fire inside me to learn more and educate others. Even if you’re unable to or don’t like riding a bike, think of those loved ones around you and around us that may need the help that Dementia Australia can provide.