A story behind each signature: campaigner Olive Munro delivers petition to the Prime Minister
Over 51,000 people signed our petition which was delivered to the Prime Minister today, by Alzheimer’s Research UK Campaigner Olive Munro. The petition calls on the government to outline how they will deliver their manifesto commitment to double funding for dementia research, over a year and a half after they made this promise.
Our MP pledge wall reached almost 100 signatures from cross-party MPs, showing that dementia research is a priority for both the public and parliamentarians. Now it’s time that the UK Government make it a priority too.
Along with the 51,000 signatures, Olive sent her own personal letter appealing to the Prime Minister to deliver on his promise. Olive’s story is all too familiar: hers is just one of many hundreds of thousands of lives affected by dementia in the UK. And we must not forget the devastating reality of the individual stories that lie behind each signature.
We hope that Olive’s letter enables the Prime Minister to see each signature as a life affected by dementia, highlighting the urgency for increased research investment into the condition.
Olive’s full letter appealing to the Prime Minister can be seen below:
Dear Mr Prime Minister,
I am writing to you today as one of the nearly one million people in the UK who are living with dementia.
I have witnessed the heartbreak of dementia in my family as three aunts died with Alzheimer’s disease and a cousin is now living in a nursing home. Dementia reduced them to a fraction of themselves. So, when I was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2017 it was very upsetting.
I am fortunate that I am currently still able to live life to the full. I am able to cope with my symptoms, which include speech and memory problems and loss of thinking skills such as mental arithmetic. But I am constantly aware of my diagnosis and worried about how things will get worse. I do not know what part of my brain will be affected and what I will lose next.
Now, I am asking you to do all you can to support dementia research. At the 2019 election you pledged to double funding for dementia research to over £160million a year, but your government has yet to deliver on this promise.
I know that developments in dementia research are likely to come too late for me. This condition will rob me of my life. But the most important thing for me is that there is hope that treatments will be found to slow down and stop dementia so future generations will not be affected.
I am doing what I can, while I am still able to, to fundraise for dementia research. In 2018 I trekked the 780km Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. I recently completed a challenge to walk 5km every day for a month and I am currently in the middle of a challenge to complete 300,000 steps in June. Next year, if it is safe with the COVID-19 pandemic, I am hoping to take on the 2,000km Via Francigena trek.
I am among over 50,000 people who have signed the petition that Alzheimer’s Research UK is handing in today asking you to honour your pledge.
I have six grandchildren and I hope that in their lifetimes dementia will become something that people no longer need to worry about. But this will not happen unless we invest in dementia research now.
Please help to protect the progress that has been made so far and help bring about life-changing treatments for dementia sooner.
Almost a million people are living with dementia in the UK, with one in two of us knowing someone with the condition. To put an end to stories like Olive’s, the government must deliver on their promise so we can accelerate progress towards life-changing treatments.
The recent approval in the US of a drug for Alzheimer’s disease is the first in a generation. We simply cannot wait that long for another. If future generations like Olive’s grandchildren are to live in a world free from the fear, harm, and heartbreak of dementia, we need to see action.
Both the public and parliamentarians have sent a clear message to the government and we will continue to campaign for the government to deliver on their manifesto commitment and ensure they treat dementia research with the urgency and importance it deserves.
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