Cashel woman teams up with TV3 presenter Deric Ó hArtagáin to lead The Alzheimer Society of Ireland's Camino Adventure



Tipperary dementia advocate Kathy Ryan and TV3 presenter Deric Ó hArtagáin will be tackling The Alzheimer Society of Ireland’s (ASI) Camino Adventure to raise funds and public awareness for people with dementia in Ireland during World Alzheimer’s Month in September.

Cashel mother of two Kathy, who was diagnosed with early onset dementia in 2014 and is vice-chair of the ASI's Irish Dementia Working Group (IDWG), is looking forward to the challenge with Deric and a team of like-minded walkers in Spain from September 8th-15th.

This will be the first time that a person with dementia has taken part in the ASI’s Camino Adventure, which is a 115km trek from Sarria to Compostela. 

Kathy has described the upcoming adventure as a dream come true and is eager to show that her condition is not a barrier and that people with dementia can still do the things that others can do.

Kathy and Deric are now spreading the ‘can do’ attitude and are hoping that others will follow in their footsteps by signing up to this unique experience along the Camino de Santiago.

The well-known Camino walk is open to participants of all ages and if members of the public are interested in joining Kathy and Deric, follow this link and fill out the form to receive a copy of the Camino brochure.

The ASI is the national leader in advocating for and providing dementia-specific supports and services. Each year it provides more than one million hours of community-based dementia-specific care throughout Ireland.

The ASI provides supports and services in local communities around Ireland and provides a range of services including day care, home care, family carer training, social clubs and Alzheimer cafes.

“Walking the Camino de Santiago is a dream come true for me. When I was diagnosed with dementia in 2014, I thought my chance of doing something like this was over. But, thanks to the ASI, I now have the opportunity to take on this challenge and carry a banner for all people with dementia on this epic walk," Kathy says. 

"This challenge shows that people with dementia can still do the things that other people can do. I am looking forward to following a training programme over the coming months and getting ready for the challenge. I must also thank my walking partner, Deric, for putting his heart and soul into this challenge; it means so much to me.

"September will be World Alzheimer’s Month and we are both looking forward to raising awareness about dementia and how communities around Ireland can be more dementia aware, which means showing basic kindness and respect to people who have dementia and their families and carers in Ireland," Kathy highlights. 

TV3 presenter Deric adds: “‘I’m both privileged and delighted to be trekking the famed pilgrim path of the Camino de Santiago later this September in aid of the ASI. Living with dementia is a very challenging journey for both the person with the condition and their carers, so our aim will be to break down the barriers and silence the stigma with every step we take.”