The first Wipeout Dementia campaign was held in May 2015 with the goal of raising money to support research under The Dementia Momentum initiative at the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA), of which I am Spokesman. The two Professors who head this Centre are determined to make a worldwide difference to preventing dementia, earlier intervention and better treatment and care.
I am pleased to act as Ambassador for Wipeout Dementia, alongside my dear friend 1978 World Surfing Champion Wayne 'Rabbit' Bartholomew.
Since its launch, Wipeout Dementia has raised over $1 million for CHeBA's research and has had an extraordinary number of passionate corporates participate and fundraise in the campaigns, including former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and former NSW Premier Mike Baird. With the generous support of sponsors and donors Wipeout Dementia continues to grow and this May will see the first ever inter-generational event in which Ben and I are competing.
My hope is that this campaign continues to expand as it supports a cause very close to my heart. As most of you know, my wife Suellen has advanced young onset Alzheimer’s disease. For me, our children, her family and close friends, we have had to learn to walk this journey with Suellen all sharing the sense of helplessness, frustration and sadness that comes with knowing that there is currently no known cure. But we are not alone. Currently, more than 420,000 Australians have a diagnosis of dementia which is now the second leading cause of death in this country. Estimates show that the number of people with dementia world-wide will increase to 135 million by 2050.
The answer to this challenge lies in critical research. Unfortunately it is too late to help Suellen, but by supporting critical research at CHeBA we have the opportunity to advance their findings and help millions of people in the future.
May I encourage you to give generously to Ben's and my participation in this event and thank you in advance.