IFCF’S CHAIRMAN RICHARD WALKER TO CLIMB EVEREST TO RAISE OVER £1 MILLION FOR WORLD’S FIRST RARE DEMENTIA SUPPORT CENTRE
Iceland Foods’ Executive Chairman and IFCF Chairman Richard Walker is set to take on the challenge of summiting Mount Everest on behalf of the IFCF, in a bid to raise over £1 million to support people living with rare dementia. The expedition is entirely self-funded so all donations go directly to the project.
In a coordinated effort with Iceland Foods stores, colleagues will also be participating in fundraising activities. Richard will spearhead the campaign to raise funds for The National Brain Appeal, who are creating the world’s first Rare Dementia Support Centre.
The state-of-the-art centre in London will be the world’s first centre of excellence for supporting those living with inherited, atypical and young onset dementias and their families. It will exemplify how best to support people living with a rare dementia, through the involvement of its members and visitors in research, cultural and artistic activities. It will also provide education for healthcare professionals and will be a space for pioneering research.
This is a cause that is close to Richard’s heart, as his mum, the late Lady Walker – who named and built Iceland Foods alongside Richard’s father, Sir Malcolm Walker – was diagnosed with a rare dementia, young-onset Alzheimer’s disease, over a decade ago. Richard and his father have publicly campaigned for more support into ground-breaking research.
This will be the second time that Richard has set out to climb Everest in support of dementia charities, but this time Richard will be teaming up with world leading mountaineer Kenton Cool to tackle the challenge of summitting the mountain. In addition, they are aiming to complete this challenge in just three weeks – rather than the three months that is typical for most expeditions.
Richard Walker, Executive Chairman, Iceland Foods said: “Over half of us are connected to someone living with dementia, and my mum, the late Lady Walker, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s over a decade ago. I am grateful to take on this immense challenge in honour of her legacy, for our family and the business. I can only thank my Iceland Foods colleagues for standing shoulder-to-shoulder with me and helping me raise critical funds and awareness to help prevent this disease from impacting so many.”
“Having climbed to the North Col of Everest (7,020m) 12 years ago, I know that this certainly won’t be easy, but I will be in the inspiring and hugely experienced company of Kenton Cool, who has already reached the top an incredible 16 times. I am determined to do everything I can to make the world’s first Rare Dementia Support Centre a reality.”
Kenton Cool, the recording-breaking mountaineer and adventurer, said: “This will be my 17th time summitting Everest, and you can never underestimate the challenge ahead, after all, you are grappling with nature every time you climb. I’m thrilled to be taking part in this challenge alongside Richard, and it is even better knowing that we are doing it for such a worthwhile cause.”
Professor Nick Fox, consultant neurologist and director of the Dementia Research Centre at the UCL Institute of Neurology, said:
“We are incredibly grateful to Richard Walker for taking on this immense challenge and all the team members at Iceland Food Stores for their very generous fundraising. Their amazing efforts will help create a state-of-the-art Rare Dementia Support Centre that will provide support and advice for those living with a young onset or rare dementia and a space for pioneering research into these devastating conditions and also accelerate the search for effective treatments. The centre will have a substantial positive impact, providing specialist support that can’t be found anywhere else.
“I was the clinician who treated the late Lady Walker following her diagnosis and I have been close to the Walker family for many years. I know how important this challenge is to Richard and can only wish him and Kenton the best of luck on their incredible expedition.”
To support Richard and the IFCF in raising much needed funds for The National Brain Appeal and the Rare Dementia Support Centre, please visit: Cool Walker Everest Challenge for the world’s first Rare Dementia Support Centre – JustGiving