A SALISBURY dentist whose family have been touched by dementia is getting behind a campaign to bringing a vital day centre to the city.
Dr Belinda Vohra is going to be taking on the Ironman 70.3 Wales on Thursday, August 7 in Swansea, which includes a 1.2m sea swim, 56 mile bike ride and a half marathon.
Her half ironman challenge is supporting Alzheimer’s Support who need to raise £140,000 to open a new centre and day club in Scots Lane.
The 57-year-old said: “Dementia is everywhere, and it doesn’t care who it hits and you could be affected by it yourself or someone close to you. You think it’s not going to happen to you but it can. All these things need to be put in place now for the future.”
The cause is close to Belinda’s heart as her mother Joan has dementia and came to stay with her during Covid before moving to a care home.
During this time they received support from the Wiltshire-based charity and Belinda says having a centre locally would have made a “massive difference” for them and other families – providing much-needed respite for those caring for loved ones with dementia.
“There is nothing in Salisbury – no day centre where they can go to where you can drop your relative off and have a day to yourself. At the moment there are clubs but you have to stay with them so it’s not a break for the carer,” she added.
“To have somewhere where she could have gone would have been amazing.”
As part of the plans for the new centre there would be two dementia advisers on hand and the teams that run the charity’s home support and network of dementia activity groups will also be based there.
Speaking about the fundraising for the new centre, Belinda added: “I now realise how important it is being through it with my mum and it is really important because dementia is going to carry on growing and increasing everywhere.
“There are going to be more people in my situation or situations where they haven’t got care and need to have someone they can turn to or just, at least, turn up at a day centre for help.”
Belinda, who has done Ironman events in the past, has been busy training over the last year to get her fitness levels up and felt as she was retiring it would be a good opportunity to raise some money.
Dentistry is a family business for Belinda who followed in the footsteps of her father.
She qualified as a dentist in 1991 and been working in Salisbury since 1994.
She opened Coombe Dental Care in 2005 and has specialised in surgery and implants. Officially, it was her last day at the practice on Thursday, July 28 but she will be staying on to complete some case before fully retiring.
Belinda says she is sad to leave it behind but adds “it is in good hands” and praised the “really nice team” at the practice.
On what she will miss most, she said: “Helping people and getting people out of pain and making someone happy because you give them new teeth. I will miss all of that.”
She says training for the ironman has been a good distraction from her retirement.
So far, Belinda has raised £1,000 and thanked everyone who has supported her especially the local dentists in the area.
To donate visit: alzheimerswiltshire.org.uk/fundraisers/belindas-welsh-half-ironman