A wake-up call about dementia can win this battle
This week, Alzheimer’s Research UK launched its first ever month long national dementia awareness campaign featuring a prime-time advertisement on national TV and cinemas across the UK. They’ve cleverly blended a mix of archive news footage from various sources and created something unique and attention-grabbing. Have you seen it yet? If not then please take a look. I think it’s an excellent advert and will hopefully get people’s attention.
Why am I so excited about this? To answer that I need to step back 10 years when I first became involved with Alzheimer’s Research UK, who were then known as the Alzheimer’s Research Trust. In those days the charity had a small but dedicated team and what attracted me to it was that although they were a small charity they had very big ideas and were focused on finding out more about dementia. Fast-forward to 2015 and it has transformed into the UK’s leading charity in dementia research powering the way ahead with world-class studies with the focus on finding preventions, new treatments and ultimately a cure for this devastating condition.
In 2014 Alzheimer’s Research UK launched three Drug Discovery Institutes, forging links with the pharmaceutical industry, alongside its Stem Cell Research Centre. Its Global Clinical Trials Fund supports clinical trials across the world and has the potential to make a massive impact on people’s lives.
Sadly there is not just one way to prevent dementia and I have always believed that research is the way to tackle it head-on (no pun intended!). I was delighted to represent Alzheimer’s Research UK in helping to develop Join Dementia Research, a fantastic initiative, in association with the National Institute of Health Research and the Alzheimer’s Society, which allows members of the public to register their interest in opportunities to volunteer in research studies. Not only are there studies which involve people with a diagnosis of dementia, there are studies looking at risk factors in our lifestyle and the old adage ‘prevention is better than’ cure certainly holds true.
During my 10 year association with Alzheimer’s Research UK I have seen a change in the way people with dementia are viewed. No longer do we speak about dementia in hushed tones. Sadly, more and more people have seen their loved ones disappear into the fog of dementia and want to speak out about their experiences, even though it can be very difficult and painful to discuss.
Dementia is not an inevitable part of the ageing process and, thanks to research, people are now managing to live well with the condition for many years. Let’s all come together to help Alzheimer’s Research UK power the fight against dementia.
You can’t beat people power and together we will make a difference!
About the author
Susie Hewer is a strong campaigner and fundraiser for Alzheimer’s Research UK and has been made a Champion of the charity in acknowledgement of her outstanding support. Otherwise known as ‘the Extreme Knitting Redhead’, Susie has completed over 185 marathons including 32 ultramarathons. Since her mum Peggy died with vascular dementia in 2005, she has raised over £56,000 for the charity. Susie was the first person to run a marathon while knitting and set the Guinness World Record for creating the longest scarf over the 26.2-mile distance.