Leeds mum describes heartache at caring for parent with Alzheimer's as she spearheads Denim for Dementia day
A mum from Leeds has opened up on the heartbreaking experience of caring for a parent with dementia.
Faye Mitchell, from Pudsey, says watching her mother live with Alzheimer's - a form of dementia - is like seeing "bulbs on a string of fairy lights go out one by one".
The 43-year-old mum-of-two knew little about the condition until her mother Carol was diagnosed seven years ago aged 64.
"Her symptoms were very slight at first", she said. "Now, she can't talk or walk. It's taken away her dignity, really."
Faye has since joined with friend Anna McIntee, whose mother also has dementia, to trailblaze a Denim For Dementia Day across the region.
The campaign aims to get schools and workplaces dressing in denim and contributing to the Alzheimer's Society, and has already raised £12,500 on its first day in January this year.
Denim for Dementia was inspired by the Emmerdale storyline of Ashley Thomas's vascular dementia, after actor John Middleton went to the Alzheimer's Society conference dressed in double denim.
The two friends are now working to make it an annual event and have managed to sign up dozens of schools in Leeds, Bradford and Harrogate.
Faye was told the news about her mother's diagnosis while she was pregnant with her son Taylor, now six. She also has daughter Summer, five, with partner David Smith, 45.
"My mum has never had a relationship with my children - her brain is just shutting down. If you imagine a string of fairy lights going out one by one, it's like that. First her speech goes, then orientation.
"People say, 'at least she's still here', and I just think, really?
"She will always be my mum and I will always look after her, but I don't want my kids looking after me like we are looking after her."
Faye was motivated to launch a fundraiser for the Alzheimer's after harbouring "so much hatred" for the condition, and instead wanting to channel it into something positive.
Now a member of the Alzheimers Society, Faye has also been raising money through coffee mornings and other fundraisers.
Faye and Anna are now urging schools and workplaces to sign up to Denim for Dementia.
Anyone interested in signing up should contact Faye by email on [email protected]