Trek26: A brilliant day and a brilliant way to honour someone

Bea McCarty, in Cardiff, shares how taking on Trek26 last year helped honour her late father-in-law’s memory.

Read this story in Welsh

I raised just shy of £2,000 doing Trek26 Stonehenge last September. Although there had been changes because of the pandemic, people had already pledged money and I thought, ‘Let’s just get it done!’

I did it for my father-in-law Ken, who was amazing – a special man to me. He died in May 2017, and it’s the best way to honour him and his memory, as he liked walking too.

I can’t run because of dodgy knees, but I love walking. A few years ago I did the 13-mile route in the Brecon Beacons, which I enjoyed. So I thought I would make it more of a challenge and do the full 26 miles. I got a friend to do it with me, whose mum also had Alzheimer’s.

Bea McCarty doing Trek26 with a friend

Someone to call

The very day we got Ken’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis, we’d been negotiating to buy a house and we’d talked about him and my mother-in-law moving closer to us.

I called the Society and was on the phone for about an hour with the adviser, who talked me through everything. She was so supportive. We decided to move to Cardiff instead to be closer to them.

My mother-in-law and I did a carer’s course. Without that, we could have fallen into the trap of thinking that Alzheimer’s was just about forgetting people you know.

Alzheimer’s Society were so supportive and caring – there was always someone to call. They helped us with things to put in place, like power of attorney. They grounded us with practical things, so we didn’t panic. Without them we’d have been lost for sure.

Unexpected emotion

The day of the trek was brilliant, it was a really beautiful walk. Mile markers tell you what you’re achieving and what the money raised is going towards.

It was sad that family couldn’t be there to see us cross the finish line because of the pandemic. However, although I didn’t expect this one to be so emotional, it still was because of what we’d achieved.

I would absolutely recommend it. The trek was well organised and felt safe. You don’t need experience, and you get training plans and lots of other information.

Fundraising helps me to celebrate Ken and also to help the Society’s vital work. Something needs to be done and Alzheimer’s Society is doing it.

Take on Trek26

Take on an epic 13 or 26 mile trek in one of five breathtaking locations across the UK. You'll join hundreds of others who are also walking to stop dementia in its tracks.

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