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Shining a Light

The focus for South Lancashire Soroptimists at their recent regional meeting was Lewy body dementia.

Lewy body? Perhaps the most common disease you have never heard of? Jacqui Cannon, CEO of the Lewy Body Society (and a member of SI Wigan) spoke at the meeting, hoping to ‘shine a light’ on this little-known condition.

A neurodegenerative disease, Lewy body dementia (LBD) is the most common type of dementia in older people. The Society aims to raise awareness, both within the medical profession and amongst the general public. It funds collaborative research between universities, pharmaceutical companies and the biotech industry.

Jacqui explained that misdiagnosis (as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, for example) can, in some cases, lead to inappropriate treatment that might even exacerbate symptoms. There is no ‘magic bullet’ for LBD, but effective intervention may slow its progress and make the condition more manageable.

In this challenging and stressful situation, the Society offers extensive guidance and support for carers. Thanks to the National Lottery Community Fund, a set of podcasts on ‘Living with Lewy’ is available via the Society’s website.

Founded in 2006, the Society remains a no frills charity in which ‘taking action’ to raise funds and community awareness is ongoing. Jacqui is delighted that many of South Lancashire’s Soroptimists are each knitting a scarf for the annual ‘A Scarf for Lewy’ campaign. This year the focus is Central Hall, Manchester.

Also at the regional meeting, Soroptimists from SI Manchester showed how they are ‘taking action’ on behalf of women and girls in East Africa. The Club has been involved with the charity Act4Africa (A4A) for many years; some members are trustees and loyal volunteers.

A4A promotes gender justice for women and girls – the strapline ‘My Body, My Life, My World’ says it all. It works with local partners via four key themes: Health, Education, Agriculture and Livelihoods.

Soroptimist Barbara Blaber thanked everyone at the meeting for their generosity. “Members from South Lancashire clubs have always been strong supporters of A4A’s work. So next time we have a stall we’ll need to bring more cheese scones!”