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Zoe Higginson, from Wickford, is calling for local businesses to come forward to support and sponsor a glamorous charity ball that she is organising in Billericay this October, to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
The 25-year-old hairdresser has been inspired to fundraise by her mother Joanne, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s Research UK powers world-class studies focusing on prevention, diagnosis and treatments for dementia. There are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and this number is expected to rise to over 1 million by 2025.
Zoe’s mum has a rare form of Alzheimer’s disease that usually affects people in their 40s, 50s and 60s. She was diagnosed four years ago at the age of 45 and, says Zoe, has “deteriorated quite quickly” since then.
She continues: “It’s hard to see somebody that was so close to you be affected in this way. My mum was my best friend – she was very bubbly and outgoing, always smiling, laughing and having a joke. It’s hard to watch her getting frustrated and not being able to be independent.
“There’s no-one like your mum, and watching her deteriorate is so hard, as you are losing the person that you always had there.”
Zoe, along with her father Will and sister Katie, cares for her mother at home, as well as holding down an office job alongside her hairdressing career and fundraising for the charity. She says: “I get up, get on with my day, keep myself ridiculously busy. As long as I’m busy I’m OK.”
Last year she did a tandem skydive with a friend, again for Alzheimer’s Research UK, raising over £1,500. She is passionate about raising money for research, because “it’s very close to home with Mum, and my mum is my everything.
“If I know that I’ve done as much as I can, raising money to try and find a cure then I’ll be able to say that I’ve done my best and tried as much as possible. If I sat back and didn’t do anything, I would think ‘I wish I’d done more to help’.”
Of her plans for the ball, which will be taking place at Reid’s in Billericay on Saturday 12 October, she said:
“My mission now is to get in touch with as many businesses as possible that want to support and donate. I’d like to do a big raffle, and a silent auction.”
Holly Noon, Regional Fundraising Officer for Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We’re so grateful to Zoe for supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK in this way, and call on local businesses or supporters in the area to get in touch if they can help support her brilliant fundraiser in any way.
“Dementia affects a significant proportion of the population – one in three people over 65 in the UK will die with some form of the condition. Fantastic fundraising efforts like this will help us to make life-changing research breakthroughs for people with dementia.”
To donate a prize or offer sponsorship, or if you can help in any other way with this event please contact Holly Noon on [email protected], or speak to Zoe directly on [email protected] or 07939 995249.
For further information about Alzheimer’s Research UK visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org