Budleigh mum and daughters share dementia story

PUBLISHED: 06:30 10 August 2016


A Budleigh Salterton mother and her two daughters, whose lives have been touched by dementia, have been made ‘champions’ of Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Liz Ayre and her daughters, Chrissi and Ciana, have been recognised for the work they do raising awareness in memory of husband and father Mark.

The 46-year-old died five years after he was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Liz, Chrissi and Ciana have become prominent spokespeople for Alzheimer’s Reasearch UK since then.

“People generally think that Alzheimer’s is something that just affects the elderly, but we know only too well that it can affect younger people, too,” said Liz.

Mike’s decline was especially hard for daughters Chrissi, now 19, and Ciana, 21, who were much younger when he started to display symptoms.

Chrissi said: “I remember the day he was diagnosed like nothing else.

“Mum and dad had to sit me and my sister down to give us the bad news we had never expected to come our way: ‘Your dad is terminally ill with Alzheimer’s’.

“I was only 11 and my sister was 13, so it was a lot to take in at that age.

“At this point, all I knew was that it was to do with memory loss and that, at one point, daddy would forget me and my family.

“Alzheimer’s is much, much worse than just memory loss. It truly is terrible.”

Ciana added: “Alzheimer’s became such a big part of our lives that remembering before dad was ill can be hard, especially as we were very young. It feels like a giant puzzle and each day a piece is taken away. You can’t rebuild that puzzle.

“Chrissi and I talk about it more as we’re getting older, but we have always had each other’s backs. Knowing she understands is really important.”

Following their own experience of dementia, the Ayres decided to do something that would make a difference to others and share their story to raise awareness about the condition.

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