Revved up to raise funds

Chloe FraserBusselton Dunsborough Times

After being diagnosed with younger onset dementia last year, 59-year-old Greg Kelly is hoping to shine a spotlight on the disease.

Mr Kelly is riding his Harley-Davidson across Australia to spread the word about the signs and symptoms of dementia and to raise funds for medical research.

“I was diagnosed with younger onset dementia and was told I have about six to eight years to live,” he said. “It is the second-highest killer in Australia and the third-highest in the USA and New Zealand.

“But, unfortunately there’s no media attention, advertising or money going into it.”

Mr Kelly embarked on his ride on August 12, with his journey starting and ending on the Gold Coast.

Now a third of the way through his 20,000km ride, Mr Kelly arrived in Dunsborough on Sunday before embarking on the next leg of his ride, which is set to conclude on Monday, October 23.

About 25,000 people in Australia are diagnosed with younger onset dementia and for every one documented, there are two or three mis-diagnosed.

Mr Kelly said his ride was about 20,000km long, with every kilometre representing more than one person under the age of 65 with the disease.

“There is no cure — this is going to become an epidemic if we don’t spread the word,” he said.

“It’s worked its way silently to No.2 out of top 10 killers in Australia and is silently creeping through communities and killing people.”

Mr Kelly travels an average of 500km a day and also plans to ride across New Zealand and the US.

“I’m prepared to give up the next two years of my life for this,” he said.

“We’ve got people in their 20s and 30s in Australia with it. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing — because people should not be exposed to this disease.”

To follow the journey, search for Kells Ride on Facebook.

To donate, visit gofundme. com/kells-ride-for-future.

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