Bonogin local and Harley-Davidson rider Greg Kelly is determined to raise awareness for young onset dementia worldwide, by committing to riding the length and breadth of Australia, New Zealand and the USA, starting on 12th August 2017.
Diagnosed with a rarer form of dementia known as Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) at just 59, Greg, an ex-Financial Services Executive, is one of 25,000 Australians living with younger onset dementia under the age of 65.
The diagnosis came as a big shock to Greg and his family, but his determination to never give-up will see him take to his motorbike to raise funds and awareness, for everyone living with this condition.
He recently launched his big ride, “Kell’s Ride for The Future”, at Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld)’s A Night of Stars Gala in Brisbane, which raised over $25K to fund ongoing dementia support services around the state.
“In my previous life, I was a high achieving individual, working in the financial sector and doing a lot of public speaking for some of the largest organisations in Australia,” said Greg.
“This FTD diagnosis is no small thing, there is no cure and I’ve been told that my life expectancy could be anywhere from 2-10 years.” In addition to the progressive disabilities associated with FTD, being diagnosed as a younger person has significant personal and financial challenges for the entire family. Being younger also makes it harder to access suitable support and care services that may be needed in the future.
However, Greg says “I am not taking this lying down…Dementia may be trying to disrupt his hopes and dreams for retirement, seeing his kids/grandkids grow and growing old with Janet & his Mates, but whilst he still can, Greg says; “I will fight this disease with my remaining skills and experience. I’m determined to shine a light on FTD and young onset dementia and what better way than to indulge my passions for riding and to tick off some of my bucket list items on the way.”
Along his journey, Greg will be assisted by Janet, his children and a support team vehicle and Friend (Paul).
Greg will be appearing and speaking at BBQ fundraisers and awareness raising events hosted by his major sponsors and dementia services in each location.
There will be media presence at many of these events. This will include attending the World FTD Awareness 2017 campaign launch in the US.
“I want everything I raise in Australia to be donated to four major causes:
- Alzheimer’s Australia as the peak body supporting people with dementia and their families in Australia see www.fightdementia.org.au
- The Australian Frontotemporal Dementia Association (AFTDA) who are lobbying and raising funds for more FTD-specific research and support programs here in Australia see www.theaftd.org.au
- Frontier the main FTD Research Centre in Australia see www.ftdrg.org
- QBI Queensland Brain Institute for research into Dementia see qbi.uq.edu.au
If you can help, please contact Greg directly at firstname.lastname@example.org