Preparing for a breakthrough: ‘A new treatment would be the greatest thing’
Today marks the launch of our Treatments of Tomorrow report, focusing on the preparation that needs to happen across our health system to ensure new treatments reach people with dementia quickly. At the heart of our call are the hundreds of thousands of people affected by dementia – people who urgently need treatments capable of stopping or slowing the underlying disease process. Adam Graham, now 32, lost his dad to Alzheimer’s at the age of 66, having seen the first symptoms of the disease creeping on when he was in his 50s.
I was only in my twenties when I lost my Dad to Alzheimer’s, and he was too young as well. It devastated everyone in the family to see him slip away in such a cruel way. He was diagnosed with “early onset” of the disease after what seemed like stress at work. It must have been so frightening for him as our grandmother had also gone through it before him. Amongst all of my friends, Dad was infamously the nicest person you could meet. He worked very hard to provide for us and never got a day of the break he deserved in retirement with Mum.
It’s painful for me to recall the two short years from diagnosis until he passed away. Things just got gradually impossible trying to care for him at home as he lost all independence, and it was just weeks after moving to a care home and a brief stay in hospital that we lost him. We felt like nothing could be done to stop it.
I support Alzheimer’s Research UK because I pin all hope that together we’ll be able to find a disease-modifying treatment to give more quality of life to millions like my Dad. The experience of losing Dad affects the way I plan my life because I know too well that mine can be snatched away at no notice and without explanation.
I would give anything to see significant advances in prevention and treatment and it would be the single greatest thing to improve my own outlook on life. We absolutely have to make sure that when those advances happen, we waste no time in getting new treatments to the people who need them. It’s vital we make a huge difference to this horrible disease and get that help to the growing millions of people like me who could be struck down in future, and their loved ones who have to go through this agony at the same time.
- To help us make the case to the government to start planning for future breakthroughs, sign up to become a campaigner.
About the author
Adam Graham was inspired to support Alzheimer’s Research UK after his father died with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, aged just 66. Adam ran the Virgin Money London Marathon for the charity in 2015, raising thousands for pioneering research. Since then he has spoken out about his experiences to raise awareness of the need for dementia research and the need for better treatments for people with dementia.