Earlier this month, Alzheimer’s Research UK lost its patron and celebrated fantasy author Sir Terry Pratchett to Alzheimer’s disease.
Sir Terry was just 66 when he died at home surrounded by his family, with his cat sleeping on his bed, on the 12th of March. The loss of this great man has had – and will continue to have – a profound effect on both literature and the 850,000 people who are living with dementia across the UK today.
Sir Terry’s uniquely witty and affecting announcement of his diagnosis with Alzheimer’s at our 2008 conference will be seen as a watershed moment for all people living with dementia. It engendered huge public awareness of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and issued a rallying call to arms for society to talk about the disease and take steps towards defeating it.
Sir Terry’s legacy to dementia research is huge, both financially and as an enormous motivation to our supporters and scientists. When he announced the inaugural Terry Pratchett research fellowship in 2010, he insisted on a single word to be engraved on the trophy: “strive”. Our scientists continue to act upon this powerful call, and push forwards with the research that will defeat the condition that took Sir Terry from us.
Earlier this year we launched a network of Drug Discovery Institutes dedicated to bringing treatments sooner. Without question, Sir Terry’s support of Alzheimer’s Research UK has played a crucial role in making this giant leap in drug development happen. He was a remarkable man and will be sorely missed.
Like Sir Terry, each one of you has the ability to help power the research that will provide answers to dementia. Visit http://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/parkrun today to join #TeamARUKparkrun and help defeat dementia.
Head of Corporate & Community Partnerships
Alzheimer’s Research UK