Game of Thrones star Iwan Rheon voices thought-provoking dementia animation

Posted on 13th October 2016

Actor Iwan Rheon is helping to improve understanding of dementia by lending his voice to a new animation from Alzheimer’s Research UK.

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The 31 year old, best known for playing Ramsay Bolton in hit HBO series Game of Thrones, recorded the voiceover for the short film. Iwan lost his grandmother, Beryl, to Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia in 2008, aged 83.

Iwan Rheon
Iwan Rheon

The film was developed in collaboration with Studio La Plage and blends informative and educational scientific imagery with visual representations of the human side of dementia to explain what the condition is and how it impacts lives. The engaging animation helps challenge misconceptions around dementia and aims to improve understanding of a condition affecting 850,000 people across the UK today.

Iwan is joining Alzheimer’s Research UK in urging people to share the film with friends, family and colleagues to help address misunderstanding of dementia. Dementia is growing in prominence and is now one of the most feared health conditions, but only 23% of people recognise that the condition is driven by diseases.

Iwan, who also starred in BAFTA-winning E4 show Misfits and ITV comedy Vicious alongside Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi, said:

“My grandmother was a real pillar of the community in Llanrug, North Wales. She was a Sunday school teacher and a dinner lady in a primary school.

“She was an incredibly strong woman and wouldn’t take any rubbish from anyone, so to see her go from that to like a scared child was really tough. It all happened so quickly, and got to the point where she couldn’t live by herself anymore and unfortunately she had to be sectioned.

“At times she would become really confused, thinking I was her husband. At first it was kind of funny – you have to try and laugh through these things – but she eventually deteriorated to the point she didn’t know who we were or where she was. It was pretty hardcore.

“I’ll always remember the way she used to constantly chase me and my brother around as we’d always be up to mischief. Even though we were a bit of a nightmare, she loved having the family around. She was a lovely woman.”

Iwan added:

“I’m proud to have played a small part in the project, and hope people will share this animation as far and wide as possible to improve understanding of this devastating condition.”

Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“We are so grateful to Iwan for lending his voice to this animation and for sharing his family’s experiences of a condition that affects so many people across the country. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding dementia and Iwan’s support is helping us tackle this head on.

“We know that dementia is not a normal or inevitable part of ageing but the result of physical diseases that affect the brain. With sustained and strategic investment in research, scientists will continue to make progress in beating these diseases just as they have done with other health conditions in recent history.”

The ‘What is Dementia?’ animation can be viewed and shared at www.alzheimersresearchuk.org or on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=HobxLbPhrMc.

For more information about Alzheimer’s Research UK, call 0300 111 5555 or visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org

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