Kyabram local Mick Simpson has walked 190 kilometres from his hometown to the Victorian Parliament in Melbourne to raise community awareness for dementia and funds for research.
Mr Simpson said awareness of dementia in the community was important for people living with the illness, particularly in the first 12 months.
"This walk is all about helping people who have just been diagnosed," he said.
"The first 12 months are really hard - it is horrific."
Mr Simpson said it often took too long for people in regional areas to access health professionals, which often meant people did not pursue full diagnosis or support.
He said there was also still too much stigma attached to dementia, particularly in the country, which needed to be broken down.
In 2019 Mr Simpson walked from Echuca to Kyabram, in 2020 he walked from Cobram to Kyabram and after a COVID-induced hiatus he recently completed his 2022 walk to Melbourne.
He was met on the steps of Parliament House by Nationals leader Peter Walsh and Member for Euroa Steph Ryan.
Mr Walsh welcomed Mr Simpson with a celebratory whiskey and threw his support behind calls for better healthcare funding in regional areas.
"Victoria's health crisis didn't start because of COVID - the cracks were there long before, particularly in our rural communities that have long struggled to attract and retain rural health workers," Mr Walsh said.
Mr Simpson called for government funding to help communities with the appropriate resources to support people diagnosed with dementia.
"Back in 2018, I was diagnosed with dementia and in the country areas trying to talk to people is so frustrating because the services are not there when you really need a hand," he said.
Mr Simpson said it was important for people living with dementia to have support from their local communities and to be able to talk about it.
"People need to know that they are not on their own," he said.
"It is time that the stigma around dementia is put away."
"We need to get it out in the open."