POOLS legend Joe Allon is throwing his weight behind efforts to raise awareness of dementia.
The former Hartlepool and Newcastle United star is supporting Dementia Awareness Week which this year encourages people to face up to their fears about the disease by talking more about it.
Joe knows only too well the effects of dementia can have on sufferers and their families as his late mum Elizabeth developed it.
He said: “It was devastating for me and my family when my mum developed dementia and it still hurts deeply. But now I am determined to do whatever I can to raise public awareness of dementia.
“The Alzheimer’s Society wants to bring dementia out of the shadows, get people talking about it and help local communities feel better prepared to face it. That is so important.”
Joe, 46, has teamed up with the Alzheimer’s Society and Beamish Museum in County Durham which is holding events for the awareness campaign.
The museum is also working in partnership with health professionals from the University Hospital of Hartlepool to support their activities for the awareness week.
Joe added: “This year the Dementia Awareness Week campaign theme is ‘worrying changes nothing, talking changes everything’, which says it all really.
“We’re all living longer. That means we’re all facing a higher risk of one day developing dementia.
“People need to find out more about the condition so they are more prepared to face it if it does affect them or a loved one.
“If you’re worried you, or someone close to you, may have dementia, it’s important to talk about it.
“The more we talk about dementia, the more we’ll know. And the more prepared we’ll be to face it.”
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, more than 33,000 people in the North-East are living with dementia.