Brian Lindsay will turn 65 on Saturday, September 8, but his family will be walking instead of partying.
They will be taking on the 6.5K Borders Memory Walk as a tribute to Brian, who was diagnosed with vascular dementia four years ago – when he was aged just 61.
His daughters Ann (38) and Emma (36) will be joined by their children, Charlie (12), Jamie (17) and Cerys (7).
Ann said: “I didn’t really notice the date when I first signed up for the walk.
“It later dawned on me that it was dad’s birthday.
“My sister and her daughters said they wanted to do it along with me and Charlie so we’ll be walking as a family.
“It’s our first ever Memory Walk and will be a special one because of the date.
“We can’t party with dad like the old days but we can take part in the walk to help raise awareness and money to help support other families living with dementia.”
Ann and Emma’s other three sisters, Jennifer, Sara-Jane and Mariette, and their brother Mark will be taking part in other memory walks across the UK.
It’s been a difficult road for the Lindsay siblings and their 11 children in the last four years as Brian’s health has deteriorated.
Ann explained: “Dad was diagnosed with vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s when he was just 61.
“We had noticed something wasn’t quite right but he passed the test when he visited the GP and it was difficult to get a diagnosis.
“Dad’s health quickly deteriorated, though, and he had to be taken into hospital.
“Sadly, that was two days before Christmas 2015.
“I spent the whole of Christmas Day crying. I knew he was in the right place for specialist care but it was still so hard.
“There haven’t been many Christmas Days I’ve not seen my dad but that year was by far the toughest.
“Later on, dad transferred into the Lennel House Care Centre in Coldstream where he began a new life.
“Today, he is so much more happy and settled there. Before, he was really anxious but now he is just really settled and that’s a big comfort to us all.
“Like most, he has good and bad days but nothing is more fantastic than that twinkle in his eye when there’s a glimmer of hope that he’s recognised you.
“I reckon the whole family would agree that those days are the good ones.”
Ann is no stranger to charity events – last Saturday, she did the Tough Mudder in Edinburgh with several friends to raise funds for CHAS.
“I loved it,” she said. “I actually wanted to go again when we got to the end of it!
“We also raised around £700 for CHAS, which we were all delighted with.”
The Lindsay clan taking part in the Borders Memory Walk have also all taken part in Race for Life previously.
But the memory walk next Saturday will be their first for Alzheimer Scotland.
Ann, who lives in Duns and is an additional needs assistant at Berwickshire High School, hopes it will help raise both awareness of the condition and funds to help Alzheimer Scotland continue its good work.
She said: “This will be our first year taking part in a Memory Walk and we are all really looking forward to it.
“Because we’ve all done the Race for Life before, even seven-year-old Cerys has done the 5K, we’ve not done much training.
“But we’re pretty confident we’ll be able to reach the finish line.
“What we’re looking forward to most though is meeting other people who are going through the same experiences.
“We’ll be walking and thinking of dad and all those going through the pain of loving someone with the illness.”
The Lindsays are also hoping to raise as much as they possibly can for Alzheimer Scotland.
Ann added: “We’ve not set a target amount for the walk but we’re hoping that people who would, in the past, have bought dad presents for his birthday will consider sponsoring us instead.
“Dad was a bricklayer and then worked as a supervisor at the local Scottish Water sewer works.
“We’re hoping his friends and former colleagues will help celebrate his birthday by supporting the walk, either by sponsoring us or taking it on themselves.”
There is still time to make your mark for dementia by taking part in the Borders Memory Walk at Harestanes Countryside Visitor Centre on Saturday, September 8.
Or you can support the Lindsays instead by visiting www.justgiving.com/fundraising/brian-lindsay65.
There’s still time to take part
Whether you stride, stroll or toddle, the Alzheimer Scotland Memory Walks are perfect for all ages and abilities.
The Borders event takes place at Harestanes Countryside Visitor Centre in Jedburgh, on Saturday, September 8.
Registration for the 1.5K and 6.5K walks opens at noon, with walks kicking off at 1pm.
Online registration is available until Monday, September 3, priced £10 for adults, £5 for those aged 12 to 16 and free for under 12s. You can also register on the day for £15 for adults and £5 for 12 to 16 years.
The 1.5K route is wheelchair and buggy-friendly, while the 6.5km walk takes you further into the park and woodlands.
There are around 90,000 people living with dementia in Scotland and it is now estimated that 20,000 people will be diagnosed with the condition every year by 2020. Henry Simmons, Alzheimer Scotland’s chief executive, said: “Our Memory Walks are a great way for people in Scotland to come together to help us raise awareness about dementia and vital funds to support people living with the condition in our local communities.
“Every penny raised will go towards our goal – making sure that no-one faces dementia alone.
“Our local resource hubs are committed to providing the best possible care, support and information for everyone living with dementia.
“They also work to ensure people with dementia and their carers are valued in their local communities.
“Every step people in the Borders take at Harestanes will help us make a difference.”
So grab your boots and help Alzheimer Scotland make sure no-one faces dementia alone.
For more information and to sign up today visit memorywalksscotland.org.