Kell's Ride hits Rocky on his quest to tackle a silent killer
YOU may have seen Greg Kelly's beast of a bike barrel through Rockhampton yesterday.
Mr Kelly has kicked up plenty of dust on his way around Australia on his Harley driven mission 'Kell's Ride for the Future' to raise awareness for Young Onset Dementia.
After setting out from the Gold Coast, Mr Kelly has travelled over 20000km taking in Tasmania, Perth, Darwin and his overnight stop in Rockhampton is on the home stretch with the finish at the Gold Coast on the 21st of October.
According to Alzheimer's Australia, Mr Kelly is one of 25,000 people current estimated to be living with the condition in Australia where three in 10 people over the age of 85 and almost one in 10 people over 65 have dementia.
Mr Kelly had worked for 42 years as a banking executive and claims that he was misdiagnosed with depression for four years but when he had trouble working out change for a cup of coffee, he knew something was wrong.
"I was diagnosed at 59 and told that I had a life expectancy of 6-8 years and I should get my affairs in order,” Mr Kelly said.
"I was told that there was no cure - no treatment.”
His doctor told him his brain is forgetting everything, starting with his family and friends before eventual forgetting how to swallow and how to operate your organs before you pass away due to infection and organ failure.
"And I said what are we doing about this and he said there's no advertising, there's no money, the pharmaceutical companies aren't interested because there is no drug to sell,” he said.
Rather than take devastating news lying down, Mr Kelly, now 61, decided to take action and face his diagnosis head on to ensure a better future for his children, their children and other families.
After gaining some sponsors, including Harley Davidson, and talking to researches who highlighted the lack of funding around dementia research, Mr Kelly set himself the goal of riding the length and breath of Australia to raise awareness and to fund raise for a cure.
"I want to put a spotlight on this disease and raise awareness for Younger Onset Dementia because this is not a disease just for the very old.
"It is the second highest killer in Australia & third highest in USA & NZ.”
Mr Kelly believes it will grow to have a tremendous impact on society if something wasn't done about it now.
He's set himself a big goal of lobbying the top 500 earning companies in Australia to donate half of a percent of their profits, to not only dementia research, but towards a medical research fund to target the top 10 highest killing diseases in Australia and desperately hopes a CEO will back his plan.
Donations can be made to Mr Kelly's ride via his GoFundMe page 'Kell's Ride for the Future'.