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Height of health

In less than two weeks, Catholic Healthcare community worker Mitch Evans will put his training to the test and climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

Mr Evans is one of 14 who has been chosen from Australia to take part in the climb to fundraise for Alzheimer’s Australia.

It might seem daunting but Mr Evans said he felt well prepared for the Trek to Remember, as he had been training intensely in preparation.

His only point of nervousness was being unprepared for the altitude, Mr Evans said.

“I’ll walk about 21 kilometres a day. It’s not too intense, it’s pretty much flat but I have been training at a slight incline,” he said.

To date, Mr Evans has already raised more than $5,000 for Alzheimer’s Australia- double his target.

It’s a cause close to home for Mr Evans, having seen first hand the impact dementia can have on someone through his work with Catholic Community Services.

In the Dubbo state electorate, there are an estimated 1,228 people living with dementia, which is expected to jump to 2,451 in 2050.

“It’s a bit ironic the people in the community who are losing their memory are the ones who seem to be forgotten about,” Mr Evans said.

People with dementia are almost twice as likely to have high rates of loneliness compared to the general public, an Alzheimer’s Australia survey found.

“You can see the isolation, and you can see it within themselves. They might say something and they know they’re repeating themselves but they can’t remember what they’ve said,” Mr Evans said.

It’s also the second biggest killer in Australia, Mr Evans said.

September is Dementia Awareness Month. This year’s theme is ‘you are not alone’ to encourage people with dementia and their carers to reach out for support.

The funding raised from Mr Evan’s trek will go towards items such as support groups, the National Dementia Hotline and early intervention programs.

This article was originally published in Dubbo newspaper The Daily Liberal.