By Michael Doran
For the past five years, the Jones family has been the driving force behind the annual Ride to Remember – Yarra Valley bike ride.
Sisters Kylie and Kirsty organise the event in memory of their mother Anne Jones, a Healesville Primary School staff member, who lost her life to dementia.
The family has lived in Healesville for more than 40 years and father Bryn is involved in the Healesville Historical Society.
“Coming up to the first anniversary of mum’s passing we wanted to mark the occasion with something positive that would honour her life,” Kylie told the Mail.
They came up with the idea of the annual bike ride and the fund-raiser.
“Like a lot of families, we had no experience of dementia until our mum developed it,” Kylie said.
“Dementia Australia gave us a lot of support so we wanted to find a way to help them in return.”
This year the ride is on Sunday 18 November and again travels along the Warburton Rail Trail.
The organisers have planned the day so all ages and fitness levels can take part, ranging from the full 55 kilometre ride from Wandin to Warburton and return, to no ride at all and just enjoying the gourmet barbecue lunch by the Yarra in Warburton.
The timetable is set so riders can join in along the route at Woori Yallock, Yarra Junction and Wandin.
With Australia’s aging population, the scourge of dementia is touching the lives of more and more loved ones and families.
Dementia Australia estimates that more than 425,000 Australians live with the disease and about 1.2 million more are involved in caring for them.
With about 250 people joining the dementia population each day, Dementia Australia said that by 2056 almost one million Australians would be living with the debilitating disease.
With three in 10 people aged over 85 and one in 10 over 65 coping with dementia, the need to find a cure is critical and fund-raising is vital to those efforts.
The Yarra Valley lunch will be sponsored and every registration and donation dollar will go directly to Dementia Australia to support families living with the still incurable condition.
The event has raised more than $30,000 since inception and organisers hope to add another $5000 this year.
Individuals, families and teams can enter at www.ridetorememberyarravalley.com.