THIS Sunday, Carlton forward Nicola Stevens will continue a tradition of awareness-raising on behalf of her mother in attending the 2021 Memory Walk.
Raising awareness for Dementia Australia, the day will be awash with Navy Blue as a group of AFLW Blues walk alongside Stevens.
“Dementia Australia run their annual walk and jog every year and I’ve been privileged to have been part of that now for five years,” Stevens said.
“I took on a role five years ago as an ambassador for Dementia Australia, given my personal story and my personal experience with my mum who’s currently living with younger onset dementia.”
“It’s this Sunday 2 May. You can jump online to memorywalk.com.au and you can register either for the 2.5km walk, the 6.5km walk or the 10km run.
“I’m not running! Myself and my teammates have decided to bring our dogs along to the event and do the short walk with a couple of the injured cripples of my teammates.”
Her role with Dementia Australia is something Stevens’ views as a privilege, grateful for the opportunity to support those whose lives are affected by Dementia like her own.
Just in case you needed a reminder, our No.21 is just that good. ?? pic.twitter.com/MonGXc8zzQ— Carlton Women's (@carltonfc_w) April 23, 2021
“Part of the work I do with Dementia Australia is raise awareness and help people feel like they’re not alone,” she said.
“There aren’t many people who don’t know someone that has been diagnosed with dementia, whether it’s a mum, a grandmother, a grandfather or a friend of a friend.
“There are a lot of people that are impacted by dementia and I just like to be able to give back and share my personal story and help others to feel like they’re not alone.”
Reflecting on her own experience, Stevens knows what it’s like to support a loved one living with dementia.
A challenging journey over the years, the fourth-year Blue has the insight of 10 years’ experience supporting her mother through her dementia diagnosis.
“It’s really challenging, and obviously it affects everyone differently. For my brother and I, from such a young age — I was 18 years old when Mum was diagnosed and my brother and I quickly had to shift roles,” she said.
“Suddenly, we had to look after Mum: for all the years she looked after us, it shifted pretty quickly and it’s not something you expect you’ll have to do at 18 or 19 years old. That’s been the most challenging part.
“Sometimes, it’s been a bit easier to think that the experiences that Mum and I have shared and my brother and I have shared from a young age, she’s almost a completely different person now.
“It’s a bit of a challenge, but it’s getting to know her and the person she is and getting to enjoy every minute with her while she’s still here.”