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Volunteer champion inspires family to walk for Alzheimer’s WA

Jacinta Fernihough with Phyl and Alf

(Image: Alf and Phyl Fernihough with granddaughter Jacinta)

A large gathering of family and friends of well-known Salvation Army volunteer Phyl Fernihough will take part in this year’s Perth Walk to Remember to honour their champion who gave so much to the community before being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014.

Husband and Salvation Army member Alf Fernihough said more than 20 family and friends will walk with Phyl around Perry Lakes on November 4 to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s WA.

“Phyl has always helped others, so now everyone wants to help her,” said Alf.

“For eight years Phyl and I led of team of 200 volunteers providing thousands of hot meals and refreshments to police and emergency service workers during major crime incidents such as murder investigations, bushfires and missing persons.

“She made sure no one ever went hungry and no matter how tired she was she always had a smile and an encouraging word.”

Phyl and Alf’s son Ross agrees.

“All her life Mum has helped other people which is why I think so many people want to join Mum and the family on the walk,” Ross said.

“Before the diagnosis Mum was very social, very generous with her time and never had a bad word to say about anyone.

“Unfortunately Mum’s health has recently deteriorated and you feel very helpless, so we thought if there’s something we can do to help we’ll do it – which is why we’re all taking part in this year’s Walk to Remember.”

2018 Walk to Remember

 Alzheimer’s WA CEO Rhonda Parker praised the Fernihough family and said funds raised through the Walk to Remember will enable Alzheimer’s WA to continue to provide much-needed support services, education and social research to help those like Phyl who are living with dementia.

“The Walk to Remember is our largest series of community events, raising funds and awareness for those living with dementia in Western Australia,” Mrs Parker said.

“There’s more than 41,000 people living with dementia in WA and there is currently no cure.

“The best response is informed support, services and care for the person living with dementia and their carers.

“Our vision is a world where people with dementia and their families are supported and valued on their dementia journey.

“Alzheimer’s WA is committed to raising awareness and understanding as a way to tackle the stigma and misconception about dementia.

“As the dementia experts, Alzheimer’s WA works with clients and their families and other organisations to have the greatest impact on the lived experience of those with dementia.

“Our client services, advocacy work, training and consultancy programs are based on a philosophy of understanding the lived experience of dementia.

“Our approach views dementia as a holistic experience for the person rather than just a biological illness.

“This Walk is about showing people living with dementia and their families that we care.

“This Walk is about showing people living with dementia and their families that together we can ensure no one faces dementia alone.”

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