In May, Iceland Food’s Executive Chairman Richard Walker reached the summit of Everest after taking on the challenge to raise £1 million for The National Brain Appeal to build the world’s first Rare Dementia Support Centre.
Richard completed the journey up Everest alongside world leading mountaineer Kenton Cool, who has now summitted Everest a record 17 times.
Richard set out on this expedition in memory of his mum, the late Lady Walker, who was diagnosed with young-onset Alzheimer’s over a decade ago.
In a coordinated effort with Iceland Foods stores, colleagues have also been participating in fundraising activities. From Coronation events and bake sales to sky dives, bungee jumps and hikes equivalent to the distance travelled up Everest, Richard’s Iceland Food store colleagues are standing shoulder to shoulder with him to reach the £1 million target.
The funds raised will go towards the creation of the world’s first centre of excellence for supporting those living with inherited, atypical and young onset dementias and their families. It will exemplify how best to support people living with a rare dementia, through the involvement of its members and visitors in research, cultural and artistic activities. It will also provide education for healthcare professionals, as well as a space for launching pioneering research.
Richard’s father, Iceland founder Sir Malcolm Walker commented: “I couldn’t be prouder of Richard for completing this truly awesome feat of mountaineering skill and sheer physical endurance. I know exactly what it takes because Richard and I both reached the 23,000 ft North Col on the Iceland Everest Expedition of 2011, which raised more than £1 million for Alzheimer’s Research UK. I’d reached my physical limit and Richard nobly turned back with me – but the ambition to go on and reach the summit has been nagging him ever since, and I am absolutely delighted that he has finally reached his goal.
“I am also delighted that this expedition is raising funds for another truly great cause – the National Brain Appeal’s drive to create the world’s first Rare Dementia Support Centre. This is a much-needed facility to provide support and boost research into young-onset and other rare dementias. It could have done so much to help our family when my late wife Rhianydd was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2010, and I know it will mean a great deal to other families in the future. Richard has put his life on the line in memory of his Mum and I hope that his great achievement will inspire many more donations to https://justgiving.com/campaign/coolwalkereverest to help him towards his fundraising target of £1 million.”
Richard Walker, Executive Chairman, Iceland Foods said: “This was my biggest challenge yet, our journey was tough and exhilarating but worth every second to raise critical funds for such a worthwhile cause. It means so much to me to have already raised £500,000 for the National Brain Appeal to create the world’s first Rare Dementia Centre, I know first-hand from my Mum’s diagnosis how important this will be to so many people living with Dementia and their families. This was what kept me going with every step on my journey.
“I am also so appreciative of my colleagues in store who are helping me reach our £1 million target, they are all so inspiring and I can’t wait to get back home and see what fundraising activities they will still be getting up to over the next couple of months.”
Richard’s expedition has marked the 50th anniversary of the Iceland Food Charitable Foundation, whose long-lasting legacy of philanthropy has been a key part of the Iceland Food’s ‘Doing it Right’ philosophy.
The Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation today focuses on four core areas – dementia, environment, wellbeing and children; the Foundation has already raised over £17 million to help diagnose dementia sooner, find better treatments, and one day find a cure.
Theresa Dauncey, chief executive of The National Brain Appeal, added: “Congratulations Richard! All of us at The National Brain Appeal are so very grateful to you and Kenton for this quite incredible achievement. The money you have raised, and the Rare Dementia Support Centre that you are helping us to create, really will transform the lives of people affected by rare, young-onset and genetic dementias.”
To help Richard and the IFCF in raising much needed funds for The National Brain Appeal and the Rare Dementia Support Centre, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/coolwalkereverest