ONE week out from an epic, ambitious ride from Uluru to Ballarat, Nick Locandro visits the place where a large part of his efforts will be channelled.
Eyres House runs the younger onset dementia group that allowed his dad Sam to spend time with people his own age and with similar experience. Mr Locandro said his dad relished time on day trips and taking up in-house programs.
Sam was 54 years old when diagnosed with an aggressive early onset dementia that took a toll physically and mentally on his previously active, healthy life.
This is partly why Mr Locandro is so passionate about raising awareness for the disease his dad faced six years from diagnosis until his death.
“I’ll admit I’m the first person who didn’t understand what dementia was about,” Mr Locandro said. “It was a shock when dad was diagnosed. I had thought dementia was for someone elderly and a bit forgetful who might ask the same questions over. But it can be people as young as 40s with young families who are working.”
Eyres House supported his whole family and allowed them to take a breath and do everyday life stuff that could become incredibly difficult as a carer.
Eyres House, under Ballarat Health Services, offers five days a week programs, cottage respite, a carer support group and program flexibility.
Mr Locandro wants to make sure people know just how special a place this is.
Early this week he will drive to Uluru with friends and fellow cyclists Jarrod King and Jamie Huggett to ride home, more than 2000 kilometres in a 14-day time frame. The is media first and preparation before they embark home on September 3.
Mr Locandro, a National Road Series professional cyclist, was confident they were ready for the challenge.
A Ride to Remember has already generated more than half of their $20,000 target to support the national Fight Dementia campaign and Eyres House.
As his preparations went up a gear, Mr Locandro said raising awareness of the disease had become increasingly important to him.
He encouraged people to become a dementia friend in a 15-minute course online, which promotes patiences, understanding and being more mindful of people living with dementia in the community.
Follow their journey on Facebook page, A Ride to Remember – Uluru to Ballarat.
More details on mycause.com.au.
Have you signed up to The Courier's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.