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Rosehearty woman raises £14,000 for Alzheimer’s charity

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The day Gwen Ramsay was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of only 51 changed her life and those of her family for ever.

Now blind, confined to her bed and unaware of her surroundings, the 62-year-old has inspired her loved ones to support others affected by the often misunderstood disease.

Led by her daughter Michelle Bolt and calling themselves Team Gwen, they have raised thousands of pounds for the charity Alzheimer Scotland.

A 10-strong group undertook a daunting zipslide over the River Clyde in Glasgow earlier this year and have now broken the £14,000 fundraising mark.

Mrs Bolt said it had been an emotional journey.

The Rosehearty mother of two, who was raising a toddler and baby when her mother was diagnosed with the condition, said: “It has been really overwhelming. That’s us finished for this year, but we’re hoping to do something again next year.

“We were terrified when we did the zipslide – but everybody loved it.”

Mrs Ramsay was diagnosed in 2004 and struggled to get the support she needed until the family made contact with Alzheimer Scotland.

The charity arranged for a carer to visit Mrs Bolt’s seaside home and take Mrs Ramsay for day trips to allow the family to rest and keep on top of their daily lives.

Her daughter continued: “Mum came everywhere with me – to all my toddler groups. My husband and I could never have a night out without thinking that it wasn’t just the kids we had to see to but mum as well.

“Alzheimer Scotland provided the respite to allow us to do things and know there was somebody there with mum.

“It meant I could do the little things like ironing, getting a haircut without worrying about mum, and she got a bit of independence because she was still young, only in her 50s. She could go out shopping without solely depending on me.

“I wanted to do something to give back to Alzheimer Scotland and say thank you for all their help.”

Within weeks of launching their fundraising appeal, the Bolt family were flooded with letters from strangers and donations from old friends.

As more people are being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia at a younger age, Mrs Bolt said they did not want others to go on the “lonely journey” they faced 10 years ago.

“When mum was poorly and used to live with us, my kids were both under three and I really struggled to cope with everything until Alzheimer Scotland got involved. They were a massive support for the family,” she said.

Next year Team Gwen is considering abseiling down the Forth Road Bridge – a tall order for those in the group who are fearful of heights, but worth it to s funding for such a devastating disease.

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