Rachael Slee in Barry, south Wales, remembers last year’s Elf Day at Vale of Glamorgan Council.
Instead of buying and writing Christmas cards, I make a donation every year to a charity.
I decided that I would do this for Alzheimer’s Society last Christmas, in memory of my gran, and mooted the idea with a couple of colleagues at work.
The idea just snowballed when I found out about Elf Day and so many people volunteered to take part, it was amazing, and I heard stories from others about their experience with dementia in the family. It was a really humbling but fun day.
My grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2010. She had been a bit forgetful for a while and she was being seen at the local memory clinic.
However, following a fall at home and subsequent hospitalisation, where she was for 12 months, she deteriorated rapidly. She was in a care home for the last five years of her life.
It was a really difficult time for all the family. Watching her decline further was awful and it was really difficult for us all to witness. Bit by bit, my gran was losing her personality. She’d always been a bit cheeky and a giggler but that was gone.
I will never forget the last time I saw her. She always had a beautiful complexion, but she was jaundiced and looked every one of her 89 years. It was a pitiful sight.
In all honesty, it was a blessing when she finally passed away. I have so many amazing memories of the time I spent with her, so I try to think about those happy times when I think of her.
None of us know whether we will also develop dementia, so fundraising is imperative in order for research to continue to find a cure for this dreadful disease.
We raised almost £1,700 last year by doing a huge raffle, where prizes were donated by colleagues. We had a Best Dressed Elf competition, a Best Dressed Office competition, a quiz, we baked and sold cakes, and donation buckets were on our reception desks. The day was a huge success!
I would say to anyone thinking of getting involved to just do it – it’s a great morale booster for colleagues, a bit of a laugh and every penny raised goes to help families in our communities.
Join us this Elf Day
Get ready to unleash your inner elf on Friday 4 December (or any day that suits you).