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Monday, 24 April 2017

Jo Brand and James Cracknell join famous names supporting new Alzheimer's campaign

Written by Rachael Burnett

A host of famous names are uniting in the fight against dementia, which is set to become the biggest killer of the 21st century.

Comedian Jo Brand and Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell are among those supporting a campaign by Alzheimer's Society to raise awareness about the condition.

The charity is launching the drive on Monday with a TV advertisement voiced by actor Bill Nighy and directed by Oscar and Bafta-nominated Daniel Barber.

It is estimated that a person develops dementia every three minutes in the UK and there is currently no cure.

More than 40,000 people in the UK under 65 are affected by the disease.

Ex-Wales international footballer Robbie Savage is backing the campaign following the death of his father Colin at the age of 64, after he was diagnosed with dementia at 58.

"People think dementia is an old person's condition but it isn't. My dad was struck down in his prime. Dementia can affect anyone anywhere," he said.

"It was so painful to witness my hero and best friend gradually slip away. In the end he couldn't speak, swallow or recognise me at all.

"To see him like that was devastating for the whole family. That's why it's so important for me to get involved with this campaign."

Kim Davies, 52, from Portsmouth, is a full-time carer to husband Rob, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease at 51.

Kim said: "We lost everything. I help him out of bed, he puts his clothes on back to front, I give him medications, make him a cup of tea, get him in the shower.

"I try to preserve his dignity. I put toothpaste on the toothbrush for him."

Only 22% of people know that dementia is a condition which results in death, while 28% wrongly believe there is a cure, research by Alzheimer's Society and Ipsos Mori have found.

Ms Brand, an Alzheimer's Society ambassador, said: "It's deeply worrying that every three minutes someone develops this devastating condition.

"What's almost as worrying is despite not being able to prevent it, cure it or even slow it down, the funding of dementia research is far too low.

"We need everyone to unite against dementia and change this now."

Mr Cracknell said: "It's now time for us to come together and unite against dementia with Alzheimer's Society. We owe it to our children - this is important."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2017, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) PA Wire.