31 Aug 2017

Former boxer to deliver a blow to dementia with challenging trek to raise awareness and funds for the Alzheimer's Society

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan – a former professional super-lightweight and welterweight boxer – was diagnosed with dementia pugilistica earlier this year. However, despite the impact on his personal and professional life, the positive 60-year-old decided to set himself another challenge – to help others by embarking on a 700,000km trek to raise funds for The Alzheimer’s Society.

Peter and his best friend, Colin, will trek along the Great Wall of China in October. “Since being diagnosed with dementia pugilistica, I’m unable to work and have had to give up my driving license,” Peter said. “It’s been tough for me and my family, both financially but also my routine has gone. I’m not one to shy away from a challenge and thought to myself, ‘I’m going to try to make something positive out of this’ and my charity campaign has given me something to focus on and strive towards.”

An estimated 85,000 people in the UK now suffer from dementia. The Alzheimer’s Society exists to provide support for anyone affected by dementia and it is the only UK charity investing in research into dementia care, cure and prevention. The society stresses that dementia is not a natural part of ageing but is caused by some form of damage to the brain.

Peter was unaware that boxers have an increased risk of diagnosis. “In the 80’s people talked of boxers being ‘Punch Drunk’ and we knew that brain damage was likely if there has been a one-off major head injury. However, it’s only recently that we’ve been made aware there is an increased risk of diagnosis with repetitive blows to the head.”

“It’d be great if there was more understanding of the possible side-effects of the sport. I’m sure it would benefit boxers in the future. I think young boxers need to be advised to avoid unnecessary damage to the brain because there is no need for vicious, continuous head shots during sparring. I love the sport and hope that my fundraising will help develop a better understanding of the condition, and the risks associated with boxing. This fundraising appeal is important to me and I hope that by funding research a cure can be found whilst providing the help and support for those already suffering from the disease. Dementia is not a symptom of being old, but it is a terminal illness with variable root causes."

Peter chose MyDonate because it doesn’t charge commission or fees. “This isn’t only a huge physical challenge, but an emotional one as the cause means so much to me. When raising money for a charity, you want to use the platform that will give the most to the causes you care about. We chose MyDonate because your fundraising goes further. Before we signed up we compared different online fundraising platforms and discovered MyDonate doesn’t take any commission on donations. Amazing stuff! Well done BT!” 

To sponsor Peter please go to: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/peterflanagan and to find out more about The Alzheimer Society please visit: https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/alzheimerssociety.

 





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