Dominican walked 50km with a global community to raise awareness of dementia in Spain

Participants of the Camino journey in Spain

Rianna Patterson, founder of the Dominica Dementia Foundation, was selected to speak and walk in Spain through Walking the Talk for Dementia, an innovative, inclusive, and adventurous experience which involved people living with dementia, caretakers, and healthcare professionals from over 20 countries.

Led by Fernando Aguzzoli-Peres and Dr. Clara Dominguez and Gustavo San Martin, the walk began at Sarria on May 1 and ended in Santiago De Compostella on May 4.

The project’s main aim was to show that people living with dementia can achieve great things, despite the diagnosis, challenges, and stigma, and that together, we can rethink the way society perceives this community. On May 5 and 6, attendees gathered at the Hotel San Francisco in Santiago de Compostela to talk about living, working, and researching dementia, bringing up ideas for a fairer and more inclusive future for all.

“This experience was life-changing, to say the least, not only did we walk together but we engaged in deep conversations during the walk, we spent a lot of time together. This event provided a unique opportunity to connect further with the community I care for and support. I left with an even stronger desire to keep advocating for dementia, bearing Laurie, Des, Kevin, Terrie, and all the other wonderful people living with dementia that I met on this journey in mind because they deserve to continue to live life to the fullest,” Rianna said.

She continued, “I also want to highlight and commend the organizers for building an inclusive experience, this was the first time I have attended an experience where people living with dementia were moderators, speakers, and panelists at a conference. I hope to see more events following a person-centered approach such as this.”

Fernando Peres, one of the organizers from Brazil, was inspired to do his work in dementia advocacy as his grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. His grandmother always wanted to walk the Camino, and this year he was able to do so in her memory with a global community.

Following the 50km Camino journey, a documentary will be produced, sharing the experiences of seven people living with dementia from six countries who participated in the event.

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1 Comment

  1. Congrats but-
    May 8, 2023

    I keep seeing this girl getting opportunities all over the world and yet it doesn’t seem to reflect in the actual foundation that has gained her so much attention.

    What exactly does the DDF *do* right here in Dominica? They seem to be going nowhere nowadays. Their Facebook page hasn’t seen a single post since January and majority of the posts are just shares of loosely related things. Or, of the founder’s achievements.

    When will the foundation be organising a walk in Dominica? I’m just getting the impression that this foundation is centered more around her personal achievements and less around real dementia sufferers of Dominica. Will be interested in what that documentary holds.

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