'Emotional' | 

Dancing With The Stars' Pasquale La Rocca opens up about grandparents' dementia

The Italian dancer won the fourth series of the RTÉ competition with Lottie Ryan back in 2020

Pasquale is supporting the Denim Day for Dementia campaign in memory of his grandparents

Neasa Cumiskey

Dancing with the Stars winner Pasquale La Rocca has opened up about his grandparents’ battles with dementia.

The Italian dancer won the fourth series of the RTÉ competition with Lottie Ryan back in 2020 and is favourite to win again this year with his partner, retired jockey Nina Carberry.

He also won the second series of the Belgian edition of the show with influencer Julie Vermeire in 2019.

32-year-old Pasquale lost both of his grandparents within six months of each other to dementia last year and has described the heartbreak as “difficult and emotional.”

“My two beloved grandparents had dementia and passed away only last year, within six months of each other, so this is something that is very close to my heart,” he said.

“Through my grandparents’ diagnosis of dementia, I understand how difficult and emotional it can be for families.

“I have learned that we really shouldn’t waste a second with our loved ones; time is just so precious.

“My grandparents were my biggest influences and supporters – my grandpa used to take me to rehearsals and competitions.”

Pasquale was speaking ahead of The Alzheimer Society of Ireland’s annual nationwide Denim Day, a fundraising campaign taking place on March 4th to raise funds for vital dementia supports and services.

He is asking everyone from around Ireland to don their denims and donate just €2 to support the 64,000 people living with dementia throughout the country.

The dancer said that the campaign is very “special” to him, adding: “I’m honoured to team up with The Alzheimer Society of Ireland and show my support for Denim Day for Dementia.

“We can all do our part and wear our denims on Friday, March 4th to raise vital funds for people living with dementia and their carers.”

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland Head of Fundraising, Mairéad Dillon, said: “We are delighted to welcome Pasquale La Rocca as The Alzheimer Society’s latest ambassador.

“We’re very grateful he is supporting this year’s Denim Day for Dementia, in memory of his grandparents, to assist The Alzheimer Society of Ireland to raise much-needed funds for people with dementia and helping us bring the subject of dementia out of the shadows, especially amongst a younger generation.”

You can support the Denim Day for Dementia campaign by signing up on www.alzheimer.ie.

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