To accelerate progress towards life-changing treatments, we must also change the conversation about dementia.
Looking back now the early changes were so marginal and so easy to put down to other things – tiredness, stress. You could always find an explanation.
This year you helped us achieve an incredible feat – almost 35,000 signatures asking for more funding for dementia research.
Why an orange? Because the damage caused by Alzheimer’s can lead to a brain weighing around 140g less than a healthy one – that’s about the weight of an orange.
As someone who recently lost a loved one to dementia, I was apprehensive about seeing this play. Would it be an accurate portrayal of the effects of dementia? Would it over-dramatise its impact on relationships or, worse still, sentimentalise it?
Alzheimer’s is horrific, and it’s something you wouldn’t wish on anyone. And that’s why I decided to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s Research UK with this song – a charity I’m proud to support. Backing their work gives us the best chance of fighting it. It’s so important.
History has shown that dementia is no respecter of persons. Iris Murdoch had one of the greatest minds that the twentieth century ever produced, as a philosopher and a novelist, but she succumbed very quickly and very terribly to dementia. Santa Forgot imagines a world where not even Santa is immune to its devastating effect.
The reason is that when we started this film I wanted to show another side of dementia – a different version of it.
In 2008, Alzheimer’s Research UK’s late Patron Sir Terry Pratchett triggered a societal shift in attitudes towards dementia. On stage at the charity’s annual research conference, Sir Terry delivered a uniquely witty and affecting announcement of his own dementia diagnosis.
In the interviews after the death of Sir Terry Pratchett, the most common question we were asked is “what did he mean to Alzheimer’s Research UK”? Terry was incredibly generous to us, he donated over $1 million to our research to help reveal the mysteries of his disease. He encouraged our scientists. He became our Patron. He was angry about his diagnosis, outraged that the condition was stealing his abilities and sense of self – he helped us campaign around the disparity in funding for dementia research.