26 Sep 2023
HEIDI DOUGLASS | firstname.lastname@example.org
In a bid to address the escalating number of people living with dementia, PJ Lane - son of TV legend Don Lane – and four corporate teams took on this year’s Sydney Marathon, raising much needed dollars for dementia research while promoting the benefits of physical activity throughout life to reduce risk of dementia.
CHeBA Ambassador PJ Lane ran his first ever Marathon and led the charge as highest individual fundraiser with $9,279 raised for research.
Senior executives from Henry William Lawyers, Luna Partners, Integrated Portfolio Solutions and Leftfield Group each committed teams in this year’s 17 September event, taking an extraordinary lead on corporate social responsibility to enact positive change in healthy ageing and raising a total of more than $25,000.
Several members of Team CHeBA at the Sydney Marathon finish line - including Henry William Lawyers Senior Partner Nick Noonan with CHeBA's Janelle Burns
Darryl Johnson, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Integrated Portfolio Solutions, who also led a team of runners in the 2022 event, has a strong desire to give back in his professional life.
“Although that doesn’t always translate to money, it’s important to recognise how far donations go to aid in the research of dementia,” says Johnson.
The collaborating group say that beyond the immediate and devastating impact of dementia, the global cost of caring for people living with dementia is more than $820 billion. They are encouraging other corporates to recognise its economic impact and take the stance that supporting research is an investment in the future.
Henry William Lawyers Director & Partner Nick Noonan, who lost his rugby league legend Dad, Bill Noonan, to Alzheimer’s disease in 2021 says that his is one of many thousands of families whose lives have been impacted by having a loved one with dementia.
Quite simply, I don’t want other families to go through what we went through, so I encourage other corporates to support investment in dementia research.
PJ Lane ran his first-ever marathon in honour of his Dad Don Lane
|Edward Caser - Founder, Luna Partners & CHeBA Ambassador, PJ Lane, Heidi Douglass - CHeBA, and Keri Kitay - Director Kitay Projects & CHeBA Ambassador
CHeBA Ambassador, PJ Lane, was just 24 years of age when he lost his larger-than-life father to the disease, and since becoming an Ambassador for CHeBA in 2012 has made it his mission to understand more about Alzheimer’s and other dementias, which research indicates is triggered not only by genetics but also by lifestyle factors.
September is World Alzheimer’s month with this year’s theme from Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) focusing on the critical role of risk reduction to stave off, delay or prevent dementia.
There is a growing body of research evidence that shows there are 12 potentially modifiable risk factors – with a key one being physical inactivity.
Other proven risk factors for dementia include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, infrequent social contact, head injuries, and conditions including diabetes, hearing loss, depression, obesity, and hypertension – all of which individuals have some control over.
The remaining risk factors include air pollution and restricted access to early education, which governments are responsible for addressing.
ADI says that up to 40% of projected dementia cases could be delayed or potentially even avoided by addressing just 12 risk factors.
PJ, a former professional basketballer who is currently studying a Masters of High Performance Sport, says that losing his Dad to Alzheimer’s disease has made him do everything in his power to reduce his own risk of the disease.
“I’ve often questioned the genetic component of the disease,” says PJ.
We’re all getting older. Although we can’t change our genes or stop ageing, there are fundamental changes all of us can make to reduce our own risk – and remaining active throughout our lives is important.
10km runner and fellow CHeBA Ambassador Edward Caser, who is Founder of Luna Partners, said “Our collective goal is to bring together an executive network that provides a clear opportunity for our sector to invest in and help drive social change.”
According to Director of Leftfield Group Nicola Paramor, “disease prevention should be a national priority.
“With an ageing population we need more resources directed to research into prevention.”
CHeBA’s Co-Directors and world-leaders in the ageing brain, Professor Henry Brodaty and Professor Perminder Sachdev, congratulated the corporate teams and PJ on their enormous efforts to advocate for awareness into healthy brain ageing, their personal drive to reduce risk of cognitive decline and their tireless efforts to raise funds to advance research.
With over 400,000 people living with dementia in Australia and approximately 57 million people worldwide, we have reached a point in history where advancing research is critical.
“Research is key to better understand these risk factors and how we can intervene to modify them and help delay dementia for future generations,” says PJ.
PJ says he continues to be inspired by the prospect that medical research can show early markers of memory decline so that brain disease can be detected before the onset of Alzheimer’s.