A former Louth man is preparing to take on the colossal challenge of hiking up Mount Kilimanjaro in support of the dementia unit at St Barnabas Hospice - inspired by his dad.
Eddie Suich, 31, will take on Africa’s highest mountain over a 10- day period, starting on Friday September 27.
His father, retired district council employee Bob Suich, has been diagnosed with dementia - and Eddie will be taking on the hike in tribute to him, with funds being raised for the dementia arm of the Lincolnshire-based hospice.
Eddie said: “My Dad means a great deal to me, and has played a huge part in my upbringing and shaping me to the person I am trying to be today. A kind, funny, hard-working and family-orientated man who has always had other people’s wellbeing above his own, whether this has been his family or his customers and colleagues at work.
“These are just a few of the aspects I feel I have learnt and try to demonstrate in life from him. And on a lesser note, I also have him to thank for the daily frustrations of being an Arsenal fan.”
Eddie continued: “Having survived a heart attack a number of years ago, my Dad and our family had the extremely difficult news around four and a half years ago that he was suffering from dementia at the young age of just 63 years old.
“He had initially been suffering from amnesia for a few years before this at just 60 years old. A few years on and my Dad’s memory worsens and he is more reliant on my Mum and those around him, unable to truly enjoy his retirement in what should be his best years of freedom and life.
“Seeing this disease first-hand has been heartbreaking and extremely difficult for our family and friends to adapt to, especially losing the ability to confide and communicate fully with the person who truly inspires me and means the most to me in my life.
“In short, it is a cruel and unfair disease I wouldn’t wish upon anybody but, certainly not somebody as good-hearted and genuine as my Dad.”
Eddie added: “Personally, I have always wanted to embrace challenges, and hiking Kilimanjaro has been on the bucket list as I know it will be a really physical challenge for me.
“However, if I can do this and raise some money alongside it for a local charity’s dementia arm that helps people like my Dad and their families in Lincolnshire through these difficult times, then that will push me that extra step for sure.
“Whilst this horrible disease is truly devastating at times, I want to ensure the positive side of this story remains to be seen - my Dad has a huge legacy behind him and has truly made the most of every day he has had.
“Any support to help the hospice would mean a huge amount to people like my Dad and family so any donations will be greatly appreciated.”
• To make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/eddie-suich-kilimanjaro