Fundraise Your Way

Laila Kjellstrom

Meet Laila, the octogenarian rambler hill climbing for dementia research.

Name Laila Kjellstrom
Cause fundraised for

Vascular dementia research at the Row Fogo Centre for Research into Ageing and the Brain

Method of fundraising Climbed Ben Vrackie

Why did you decide to fundraise for your chosen cause?

Vascular dementia affects around 150,000 people in the UK. It can cause changes to mood, personality and behaviour. It can also cause disorientation and confusion. And it can cause difficulty walking and keeping balance. These problems can make previously simple daily activities increasingly difficult. There's currently no cure for vascular dementia and although treatment can help, vascular dementia can significantly shorten life expectancy.

It’s been difficult to watch people I care about change as a result of dementia. And for many more patients and their carers, more support, understanding and the possibility of treatment, can’t come soon enough. Quite simply, I wanted to do something positive to help.

How did you raise money?

I had grand plans to host a party for my 80th birthday last year. But then Covid-19 happened, and any thoughts of large gatherings had to be abandoned.

I didn’t want my 81st birthday to go by unmarked. But instead of a party, I chose to do something for others, deciding to climb Ben Vrackie, the 787m ‘Speckled Mountain’ that towers over the Scottish town of Pitlochry.

My ascent was slow and steady and the last stretch was steep and tough, but I made it, motivated by all the people who were supporting me.

I couldn’t believe who many people donated to my JustGiving page – it was such a boost to know I’d inspired others to support dementia research and made my challenge all the more special.

Fundraising wisdom

I don’t have access to a computer, but I didn’t let that stop me. I contacted the fundraising team at the University of Edinburgh and Kerry set up a JustGiving page for me. Don’t worry about what you can’t do – concentrate on what you can do.

Related links

Row Fogo Centre for Research into Ageing and the Brain | The University of Edinburgh