Alzheimer’s Research UK has launched its first major awareness raising campaign today (Monday 1 June) to highlight the challenge of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and the urgent need for greater investment in dementia research.
For the first time in its 21-year history, the UK’s leading dementia research charity has delivered a national advertising campaign to appear on major TV channels and at cinemas across the UK throughout June. The advert, which has been created using archive footage from news and television programming from the past 30 years, features a host of famous faces.
The campaign launches as a new YouGov survey commissioned by Alzheimer’s Research UK revealed that, when choosing from six leading health issues, 45% of people aged 55 and over believe dementia is the biggest medical challenge facing the UK today.
Alzheimer’s Research UK produced the advert for the campaign with support from ITN Productions and creative agency ais London. The advert has been edited by the award-winning Sam Sneade who remixed dementia news clippings from a host of famous faces, including the late Sir Terry Pratchett, Dame Joan Bakewell, actors Seth Rogen and James Nesbitt, newsreader and journalist Katie Derham, choreographer Arlene Phillips and Union J singer JJ Hamblett.
Seth Rogen, whose mother-in-law is living with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, said:
“Alzheimer’s disease is a global challenge and it doesn’t respect ethnicity or wealth, and with a rapidly ageing global population, it’s one of our biggest threats. Alzheimer’s Research UK’s campaign is a bit of a wake-up call to the scale of the challenge, but also a call to arms for us to back research to beat it. We shouldn’t think of Alzheimer’s as different to other big diseases, at its root are brain cells dying and this is a physical process that scientists can put a stop to, given the resources to do the job. I hope this campaign gets folks talking about the disease and moves us towards a place where we really start to fight it, I’m proud to be part of it.”
Arlene Phillips, who cared for her father who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, said:
“Alzheimer’s Research UK’s advert brings home the urgent need for more investment in dementia research and I hope it will launch something of a fightback against the condition. Dementia is not something we have to accept, it’s brought on by diseases that our scientists can beat if we all get behind them. We shouldn’t have to just cope with dementia, we should be able to defeat it.
“My dad was 89 when he died but the last 10 years of his life were not what any of us wanted for him, because of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a disease that takes away the essence of a person before they die and leaves those around their loved one feeling helpless. But research is the answer, it gives us hope, and it will bring the breakthroughs that will change the future of dementia.”
Valerie Blumenthal was diagnosed with Posterior Cortical Atrophy, the same form of Alzheimer’s experienced by the late Sir Terry Pratchett, in November 2013, in her early sixties. The rare form of the disease attacks the back part of the brain, responsible for visual function, orientation and spatial awareness, rather than immediately causing the memory problems more typically related to Alzheimer’s. She said:
“It took three years to get a diagnosis of PCA and during that time I became an expert at bluffing to my friends and family to cover up why I no longer did the things I enjoyed so much, like playing the piano, reading and painting. As devastating as the diagnosis was, it was a relief not to have to pretend anymore.
“When Sir Terry Pratchett passed away earlier this year it brought home the condition to me. I don’t think I am what people think a person living with dementia looks like and I want to do all I can to change people’s perception of the condition. This campaign will help people to accept that Alzheimer’s is a disease, and a disease we can tame. We need to fight the perception that dementia is an inevitability, and recognise that research is our weapon against it. We can celebrate amazing progress that has delivered us cancer survivors and we need now to look forward to celebrating Alzheimer’s survivors.”
Hilary Evans, Chief Executive at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“This is the first time Alzheimer’s Research UK has undertaken national television advertising and it comes at a time when 850,000 people in the UK are living with dementia and the need to defeat it has never been more urgent. At the heart of our campaign is a strong challenge to the public that we need to think differently about dementia. We must stop fearing dementia as an inevitability, and now focus on fighting the diseases – like Alzheimer’s – that are the root cause of it. There are still no treatments that can attack the disease processes in the brain, research has to change this and it has to change now.
“Alzheimer’s Research UK’s campaign is intended to address the need for greater investment in dementia research. Major breakthroughs have been made in the battle against AIDS and cancer and research will bring these same life-changing advancements in the field of dementia. Alzheimer’s Research UK is leading this fightback against dementia.”
Alzheimer’s Research UK’s campaign launches on Monday 1 June. The advert will air on major TV channels and cinemas across the UK throughout June and will air on ITV 1 during Emmerdale. The advert can also be viewed at www.alzheimersresearchuk.org and at https://youtu.be/f0YLcLxB77Y
For more information about Alzheimer’s Research UK call 0300 111 5555 or visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org.