‘Passion can effect change’ – A guest blog from Gina Awad

Dementia Friends Champion Gina Awad tells us about the incredible amount of work she has been doing in the past year to make her area more dementia-friendly.

What a difference a year makes !

This time last year I was a Dementia Friends Champion, I still am, although things have progressed beyond belief. I had a vision in November 2014 to create a local Dementia Action Alliance, that vision is now a reality. Over 30 local organisations have committed to an action plan to implement change, support, and generally raise awareness working towards a Dementia Friendly Exeter.

People ask me “how have you achieved what you have?” My response is passion, determination, drive, oh and a dash of persistence, well a little more than a dash maybe!

My year has included a trek on the Great Wall of China raising funds for dementia; A local
community radio show ‘Living better with dementia’; the fortune to be selected as one of
twelve to a dementia training retreat scholarship in the USA, over 30 Dementia Friends
sessions, achieving now almost 800 friends. Recognised in the city and county for my
contribution to dementia and achieving a finalist place in the national Dementia Friendly
Awards. I have met some incredible people living with dementia and their families which
has been such a privilege.

My aspirations are ongoing and now with the assistance of a committed group to effect
change in the community, who knows where we will be this time next year!

If I could share one thing it would unequivocally be that passion can effect change and this
is what lies at the heart of my quest. Knowing that people living with a dementia and their
families are beginning to feel supported, valued, respected and truly included is in my
opinion a basic human right.

I proudly introduce the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance

Here’s a recent Dementia Friends Info Session I ran with Exeter City Council staff:

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