Alzheimer’s Research UK launches £1m partnership with Iceland Foods

Alzheimer’s Research UK and Iceland Foods have announced a partnership worth £1m

Posted on 25th February 2011

The Charity of the Year Partnership for 2011 will boost research into early-onset dementia by at least £1million.

Iceland Foods Chief Executive Malcolm Walker launched the partnership alongside an expedition he and his son Richard will undertake to climb Everest in March. The pair’s goal to conquer the 23,000ft North Col of Everest forms the centrepiece to the company’s fundraising efforts for the UK’s leading dementia research charity.

Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We’re delighted that Alzheimer’s Research UK has been named Iceland’s Charity of the Year for 2011. This support and Malcolm’s extraordinary efforts to conquer Everest will be a major boost to research into dementia, a condition that affects over 820,000 people in the UK today. Research is the only answer to dementia, but it is desperately underfunded, so Iceland’s backing could not be more important.”

Ahead of the partnership launch, Malcolm Walker talked about his hopes for the fundraising expedition: “Given my age and experience, and the fact that I’m not suicidal, I don’t rate my chances of reaching the summit. If I did, I’d be the same age as Sir Ranulph Fiennes when he got there, on his third attempt. But I do hope that Richard and I will be able to get to the North Col at 23,000ft and support the team taking the Iceland Foods flag right to the top. I’ll be writing a blog as we do.

“I also hope that we can make the most of this fantastic opportunity to raise some serious money for a truly outstanding cause – Alzheimer’s Research UK. Dementia will soon affect a million people in the UK and almost every family is touched by it, yet research into it attracts only a tiny fraction of the funding provided for cancer or heart disease. The tragedy is it’s not just the elderly: early-onset Alzheimer’s ruins the lives of people in their 40s and 50s.”

Prof Nick Fox is scientific adviser to Alzheimer’s Research UK, and leader of the UCL Institute of Neurology research team investigating early-onset dementia. He said: “Early onset Alzheimer’s disease is particularly cruel, affecting people who are otherwise fit and healthy, typically with jobs and young families, perhaps also with responsibility for caring for an elderly parent.

“Research into early onset Alzheimer’s is especially important not just because of the exceptional burden on sufferers and their families, but also because it gives us the opportunity to look at people who are suffering only from Alzheimer’s disease, rather than the multiple diseases and conditions typically associated with old age. So by focusing on early onset Alzheimer’s, we may be able to unlock secrets that will ultimately benefit all sufferers from the disease.”

More information on the Everest team is available from the expedition site www.icelandeverest.org.uk

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