New Alzheimer's Australia Young Ambassadors
Sophie Pieters-Hawke, Andrea Britz, Annabelle Boyd-Jones and Tess Paul
09 May, 2011
Forget Me Not Girls; Sophie Pieters-Hawke, Andrea Britz, Annabelle Boyd-Jones and Tess Paul become Alzheimer's Australia's new Young Ambassadors.
During Dementia Awareness Week 2010, Sophie Pieters-Hawke, granddaughter of Hazel Hawke, Andrea Britz, Annabelle Boyd-Jones and Tess Paul held the first Forget-Me-Not fundraiser raising $26,000 for the Hazel Hawke Alzheimer’s Research and Care Fund. Over 250 people attended the cocktail party at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney where Denise Scott played host for the evening, Jen Cloher entertained the crowd with songs from her new album and Claire Lutton delivered the key address about her mother who is living with younger onset dementia.
The goal of Forget-Me-Not is remembering shared. Opening a space for younger people who have been affected by dementia to share their stories and to raise awareness about the issues that affect younger carers.
The Forget Me Not Girls have been chosen by Alzheimer’s Australia to represent and promote the issues that are faced by younger carers of people with dementia as Young Ambassadors. Sophie’s family has been involved with Alzheimer’s Australia since Hazel was diagnosed.
“My grandmother was diagnosed with dementia in 2001,” she said.
“Now she is at the stage where she does not always remember who I am when I visit and it hits me every time. But even though she is in the later stages of dementia, she still appears happy and content and enjoys our company whether she remembers us or not.”
Andrea Britz first approached Sophie with her idea for a fundraiser for younger people affected by dementia in 2009.
“There was nothing out there that gave young people the chance to stand up, tell their stories and to show support against this disease that takes our grandparents and parents away from us,” said Andrea.
Annabelle, hearing about it from a friend, immediately went to the group to find out how she could help.
“The idea was there to have an event for younger people affected by dementia and I instantly wanted to be part of it,” said Annabelle.
This was the point when Tess got involved.
“When I heard about the idea I was on board straight away,” said Tess.
“My grandmother has dementia, and this was a way for me to fight it.”
The CEO of Alzheimer’s Australia Glenn Rees said the Forget Me Not girls’ hard work and determination was admirable.
“They were very determined last year for the night to be a success – and it was,” Mr Rees.
“I am very excited to have them on board as Alzheimer’s Australia Young Ambassadors; they will be able to lend their experience with dementia to help thousands of young people realise that they are not alone.”
The Forget Me Not girls are already in full swing planning their next event – a cocktail party on Saturday 24 September at The Pavilion, in the Botanic Gardens, Sydney, to raise money again for the Hazel Hawke Alzheimer’s Research & Care Fund. For further information please go to www.forget-me-not.com.au.