What is it?
The Forget-me-knot mission involves a rowing cross-continent rowing journey, beginning in Portugal and ending in French Guiana in South America. The mission amounts to nearly 4000 miles, to raise money for Dementia UK. The participants will work in 12 hour shifts, rowing for 2 hours followed by 2 hours of rest, which means that for the entire journey they will only be sleeping or resting for 2 hours at a time. The trio completing the effort will be the first ever trio to complete such a feat, and you can track their live progress online as they go!
Who are they?
With zero outside assistance and limited experience, Johnnie Ball, Dirk Von Delft and Stefan Vine will be teaming up to complete the row as a triumphant trio. The idea came from Johnnie, who is driven by his experiences of his mother whilst she was a caregiver for his father during his almost two decade-long battle with dementia. Ball was surprised and impacted by the dedication that caregiving requires, and the wider effect that the responsibility has on the lifestyle of the caregiver as an individual, and the wider care bubble as a whole. The rowing mission is designed to mirror the nature of caregiving, as never having an end-of-shift or downtime, before the task is complete, which is how Ball recalls caregiving for a loved one with dementia. He has used this insight to fuel his adventurous side and is willing to tackle a cross-continental row with admittedly terrible sea sickness.
Joining Jonny is Dirk Von Delft, a surgeon with drive an experience in interesting outdoor excursions, and Stefan Vine; an industrial electrician who is a keen sailor planning to be the steady hand for his companions as they settle into life on a rowing boat.
The tremendous team are committed to completing the mission purely as an awareness effort.
The men explain that their mission will be a test of endurance. The journey itself may be challenging, but pales in comparison to the enduring challenge of caring for someone with dementia. In their efforts, they aim to end the silent suffering that dementia carers live through and to acknowledge the true toll that caregiving can take, even for those closest to us. Johnnie notes that few caregivers receive the support they deserve, and that alerting people to their role and what it entails is important. Dementia UK are renowned for supporting everyone involved in the wider caregiving bubble. More specifically, the funds raised by Forget-Me-Knot will largely go to paying for Admiral Nurses via Dementia UK, in order to provide caregivers and everyone that needs one with the necessary support.
With the motivation of his mother’s caregiving experiences behind him, Johnnie and his team are aiming to beat the current record of 50 days for completing the crossing journey and if their mission goes to plan they will be achieving 2 world records. Their planned route is notably harder and more gruelling than any remotely similar route in recent history. And the cherry on top? The trio will be able to collect rare oceanography data from the lesse covered parts of the Atlantic Ocean, contributing significantly to ocean preservations efforts.
You can read more about Forget-Me-Knot and donate to the cause here.