On Sunday 24 September, University of East Anglia (UEA) nursing apprentice Francessca Turrell will be taking part in a charity skydive for Alzheimer’s Society, a UK care and research charity for people with dementia and their carers.
Set to qualify as a fully registered adult nurse this October, Francessca has cared for people with Alzheimer’s and Dementia for almost a decade, with seven years spent working at the James Paget hospital in Great Yarmouth. Now, she hopes to raise more awareness for those affected by a disease that currently afflicts more than 900,000 people in the UK alone.
Dementia is a group of symptoms that can affect memory, problem-solving, language and behaviour over time, caused by different diseases that damage the brain. It is progressive, meaning that symptoms such as memory loss, confusion and problems with language can get worse over time. There are many types of dementia, but Alzheimer’s disease is the most common.
Francessca said: “My passion stems from caring for those with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and I have cared for those who have suffered with this heart-wrenching disease for almost a decade. I personally find it such a rewarding experience and want to share more awareness and support those who have been affected by Alzheimer’s and Dementia.”
Having previously worked as a health care assistant at James Paget University Hospital for three years, Francessca worked on several wards before she was selected through the hospital for the nursing apprenticeship programme at UEA. After first completing a two-year foundation degree, Francessca enrolled on the BSc Adult Nursing Degree Apprenticeship, a two-year programme aimed at supporting apprentices with a combination of theoretical and practical learning, and has since worked in hospital areas such as surgery, emergency, respiratory, short and long stays, Community and General practice placements, and as a health visitor working with children and vulnerable adults.
Francessca credits the University for helping her on her journey: “My journey at UEA on the Adult Nursing Degree Apprenticeship has been a transformative time full of knowledge, learning and compassion. The lessons learned and skills developed through my training and time spent on placement at James Paget University Hospital – they have helped me prepare to register as a qualified adult nurse, as well as continue to advocate for Alzheimer's awareness.
“This is my first skydive, so I’m feeling very nervous and out of my comfort zone, but I am excited to push my limits and solidify a change within the lives of those affected by Dementia and Alzheimer's. Any and all contributions to my fundraiser will be greatly appreciated in support of such an important cause that affects so many lives.”
Ahead of her dive at Norwich Airfield later this month, Francessca’s fundraiser has already achieved its £1,000 target for Alzheimer’s Society, with £1,295 in current donations going to support the charity’s one unifying purpose: to stop dementia devastating lives.
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