Wembley worker diagnosed with dementia in her 40s to speak at Olympic Park Memory Walk
PUBLISHED: 17:28 23 September 2019
The youngest woman in Brent to be diagnosed with dementia is gathering her courage to speak at a huge charity event on Sunday.
Dianne Campbell, who lives in Wembley, was only 46 when she was told she had the incurable disease.
She will be sharing her experiences at the Alzheimer's Society's Memory Walk at the Olympic Park in Stratford.
Dianne, now 53, said: "I did a walk a few years ago and it's such a great way to meet other people.
"A dementia diagnosis isn't the end - we can live well with dementia and still do things."
She added: "I want society to understand that younger people do get dementia and that's why I will always make sure I talk about it. The Olympic Park Memory Walk will be a big gathering, so of course I am a little scared about speaking in front of thousands of people, but it's natural to get nervous. If I don't talk about younger people living with dementia, who's going to?"
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Dianne's life was turned upside down by her diagnosis in 2013.
Made redundant shortly after receiving the news and unable to find any age-appropriate services in Brent, she had to travel to Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster to find support groups for people her age.
Dianne found work with a team of dementia support workers, helping other people adjust to their diagnosis, alongside their nurse or psychologist.
She also volunteers with Brent Dementia Action Alliance and sits on its board advising on the realities of life for people with the condition.
She added: "I know a lot of people just don't think younger people would get such a thing. I want people to understand that anything can happen in life and that we are just the same: people.
"When I tried to find out what was wrong with me at first, they said there wasn't enough oxygen going to my brain, so I was having tiny strokes. I was told that to avoid a bigger stroke I must look after myself.
"It's got to be out there for people to understand that to avoid the condition at a young age you have to look after yourself and, if you've got the diagnosis, still look after yourself - eat well, do exercise, help yourself."
Memory Walk has a 2km route and a 6km route. It's £10, but free if you're under 16. Arrive from 9am for a 10am start. Sign up at memorywalk.org.uk/find-a-walk/Olympicpark-19/