DEMENTIA champion Nick Locandro is getting back on the bike to push himself greater physically and mentally for the cause.
His second Ride to Remember alongside triathlete Jamie Huggett will set out on the Mawson Trail in South Australia next month. They will start in the Flinders Ranges and cover about 1000 kilometres in six days' to finish in Adelaide.
This builds on their inaugural adventure, with fellow cyclist Jarrod King, riding from Uluru to Ballarat in an ambitious four days. Uluru was where the Locandro family had their last holiday together with dad Sam, who died with early on-set dementia in 2017.
The next chapter remains incredibly personal for Mr Locandro with all fundraising to feed directly into new Ballarat-based charity This is Dementia. The not-for-profit body was formed with fellow young dementia champions Meg Curnow and Brittany Rose to channel their efforts into tackling the complex issue in Ballarat.
"We chose Mawson Trail because it's a tough tide and to keep on time will test us physically and mentally - a similar theme from last year, because the challenge is nothing compared to what people living with dementia are going through," Mr Locandro said.
"It's pretty much all off-road. Last time we were riding four to five-hour days and this time will be more like six to eight-hour days so it could be even more challenging...Our focus for the ride is creating awareness and knowledge about people living with dementia in the community."
Mr Locandro, Ms Rose and Ms Curnow are working on creating a series of events with the aim of building a support network for people living with dementia and their carers. This will start in a luncheon at dementia-friendly The Western Hotel early next month.
"One problem with dementia is awareness and knowing whether someone has dementia," Mr Locandro said. "Hopefully education will help offer cues for people to be a bit more supportive and patient."
Mr Locandro said it could be quite isolating for carers and people living with dementia, especially those with early on-set disease, in lacking confidence to be involved in the community - even just to eat out.
Meet the trio changing community conversation with This is Dementia. Click on the image below to read more.
This is Dementia is working to change the stigma surrounding the disease and highlighting its far-reaching impacts on family and friends. This is Dementia has been officially approved by the Australian Charities and Not-for profits Commission, giving the green light for the trio to step up their profile and work in Ballarat.
More than 3,100 Ballarat people are living with dementia.
This is projected to increase to almost 4,300 Ballarat people in the next decade and to 7,000 by 2058, according to Dementia Australia. Dementia is the second biggest cause of death in Australia.
For more details on A Ride to Remember (Mawson Trail) and the charity's activities, visit This is Dementia's Facebook page.
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.