Taking his dog for a walk in the park has sparked a nurse’s decision to raise more than £1m for a dementia support centre.
Marty Pumbien was out exercising his dog Stumpy, so named because of his shorter than average legs, in Abington Park, Northampton when he noticed an elderly lady also out taking the air.
Seeing that she was confused, but also comforted by Stumpy, Marty struck up a conversation about him. Marty recognised the lady possibly had dementia and needed more assistance so the group took a joint stroll back to Marty’s house, which overlooks the park. Their conversation continued over tea and the lady remembered where she lived so Marty was able to drive her home, contact her family members and organise a wellness check for her. She was also reunited with her own pet dog.
This simple meeting led to a light-bulb moment for Marty, a nurse for more than 20 years and for whom working with dementia patients such as the ‘Lady in the Park’ was not unusual.
Passionate about providing great care and having seen that dementia support can sometimes be lacking, Marty resolved to put his money where his passion lay by putting his four bedroom home into a ‘Win a House’ competition – with a difference.
Part of the proceeds from the competition will go toward funding Northampton’s dementia support centre UnityDEM, co-run by the University of Northampton and First for Wellbeing.
Marty said: “I never thought a chance encounter between our dog and an old lady in the park would snowball like this. But after a year of planning here we are, poised to hand the keys of our house over to the lucky winner.
“In one way or another, we all know someone affected by dementia. In fact, 1 in 3 children born in the UK in 2015 will go on to develop a form of dementia* and currently there is no cure.
“UnityDEM offers a type of ‘brain rehab’, based on research that shows this type of intervention can slow the progression of dementia and, possibly, keep people at home for longer.
“This has massive benefits for everyone from those with dementia, their carers and centres like these could even reduce the burden on the NHS and social care bodies.
“Annie and I would both like to say a big thank you to everyone who has taken part so far. We really hope people continue to help support UnityDEM and try winning a house for a fiver.”
UnityDEM is a ‘one stop shop’ for care, information, training and guidance for people who have been recently diagnosed with a form of dementia. Crucially, their carers have access to the same support at the same time.
Supported by the University and the Northamptonshire Community Foundation, the competition involves entrants successfully answering a simple question about Northampton to take part.
Each ‘entry’ is then £5 and people who are interested can enter as many times as they want, providing they meet the eligibility criteria. Details about the layout of the four bedroom house, worth £650,000 its features as well as the full terms and conditions can be found on their website.