34-year-old Teesside woman diagnosed with rare form of dementia

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A 34-year-old woman from Teesside has been diagnosed with a rare form of dementia, affecting behaviour and language.

Holly Braithwaite is thought to be one of the youngest people in the country with Frontotemporal dementia.

The young mother, who was diagnosed last year, is married to Alex Braithwaite and they have a two-year-old daughter, Alba.

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Holly, who worked for many years as a letting agent, first started to show symptoms in 2019. It was shortly after she gave birth to Alba, so it was initially thought to be post-natal depression or linked to a thyroid problem that she had recently been diagnosed with.

The Northern Echo: Holly and husband Alex, before she developed dementiaHolly and husband Alex, before she developed dementia

Two school friends, Sophie Poulton, age 33, and Kayleigh Spooner, age 34, organised an 8-mile walk in Teesside to celebrate their beloved friend Holly.

The friends, all from Teesside, organised the walk from Glaisdale to Goatland on Saturday May 28, stopping at the walk’s eight pubs along the way. The group raised over £7000 for Rare Dementia Support, a service funded by The National Brain Appeal.

The service provides information, advice and support to people with rare dementias and their families. The service has become a lifeline for Holly’s family, husband Alex and her mum Chris.

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Sophie said: “We are still waiting for a final total of money raised on the day as local schools etc are still wanting to donate, however the just giving page is now over £7000 including Gift Aid, so that is amazing!

“It took a while for Holly to get a proper diagnosis. After several different tests and scans it was confirmed it was Frontotemporal Dementia. We were so shocked when were heard it was a form of dementia. Holly’s so sharp, even now, she will know dates, birthdays, what we did on nights out when we were younger. That’s the surprising thing about FTD and some of these rarer forms of dementia. It’s not about memory loss and it can happen to younger people.

“Holly’s condition is progressing faster than any of us anticipated. As family and friends we are doing all we can to support her and create a safe, loving and caring environment for her during this scary, confusing time. We are devastated and broken hearted to see what is happening to our beloved friend. We know there is no cure and we just want to be there for her and do whatever we can for her, Alex, Alba, Chris and all the family.”

To donate go to: justgiving.com/fundraising/sophie-al

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