New group to lead fight against dementia in Edinburgh


By Philip Tubby | Tuesday 06 March 2018

A group of passionate volunteers whose lives have been touched by dementia have launched a fundraising group to support Alzheimer’s Research UK.

The seven founding members of the Edinburgh fundraising group – which includes Dr Jill Fowler, Alzheimer’s Research UK Senior Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, and Catarina Dias, a PhD student funded by the charity – have plans underway for fundraising events and activities.

ARUK Edinburgh Fundraising Group

The group will also be representing the charity at events and spreading the word about dementia and the importance of research within their local communities.

Their first big fundraising event will be a quiz night in the bar at the Novotel Edinburgh Centre Hotel on April 26, organised as part of the charity’s The Mighty Quiz campaign.

One member of the group is Mhairi Hastie, who lives in Longniddry. She was inspired to raise money for dementia research as her mother died with Alzheimer’s disease and her father has vascular dementia and is now living in a care home.

She said:

“My mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2006. She went downhill dramatically, everything just shut down and she died in 2009.

“My dad was determined she wouldn’t go in a care home and he cared for her around the clock. He had some health conditions that didn’t come out at the time because he was concentrating on my mum. His heath started to go downhill in 2013 and he was also diagnosed with dementia.

“It’s so important to support research as finding a cure is the only way to stop future generations having to go through what my family have been through.”

Alzheimer’s Research UK regional groups play a crucial part in the fight against dementia, which currently affects around 70,000 people in Scotland. Alzheimer’s Research UK has invested more than £6million in research in Scotland, backing around 60 projects exploring the causes of dementia and work towards preventions, treatments and a cure for diseases like Alzheimer’s. Several of these projects are at the University of Edinburgh, which is a leading centre for dementia research.

Dr Fowler is leading a pioneering project investigating whether a protein, Nrf2, can protect against damage caused by reduced blood flow in the brain, which may be an early contributor to Alzheimer’s. By closely examining this protein, scientists will be able to understand more about its role in protecting the brain. They hope to use this knowledge to develop interventions to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.

Kyle Lockhart, Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Fundraising Officer for Scotland, said:

“We are delighted to have launched a fundraising group in Edinburgh, particularly as a lot of pioneering dementia research is taking place at the University of Edinburgh.

“The Alzheimer’s Research UK Edinburgh Fundraising Group will play a vital role in helping us defeat dementia, both through raising funds and helping to spread awareness of this cruel condition.

“The dedicated members of the group will help Alzheimer’s Research UK achieve its mission of bringing about the first life-changing dementia treatment by 2025 and creating a world free from the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.”

For information about the group’s upcoming events and activities, including The Mighty Quiz, like their Facebook page at

New members are always welcome to the group. For more information about volunteering for Alzheimer’s Research UK contact Kyle on 07760884529 or

For further information about Alzheimer’s Research UK visit


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Philip Tubby