By Debbie le Quesne

Alzheimer’s: Spreading seasonal hope out of tragedy

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Alzheimer’s disease, like others that affect the ability to rationalise, remember and function, dispenses a cruelty to its victims and their loved-one which appears to know no boundaries.

My blog yesterday on Mr Cameron calling for an international summit to address the global problems of the number of people diagnosed prompted someone to point me to a heart-rending news story.

It involved a 31-year-old pregnant woman who has been diagnosed with the condition. After giving birth to a healthy daughter, Rebecca Doig, who lived in Sydney, died a year or so later.

In the final stages of her disease she had lost the emotions of inspiration, joy and happiness. Search for her name on Google and its easy to see the utter devastation this journey has caused. Further web threads prompted by this story (see www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbtLUChdUlc) have drawn me in to see just how many other lives are broken by this disease.

Rebecca’s story broke in March 2010 and by July 2011 she had passed away.

None of us want to hear bad news – we want festive fun and it’s not unreasonable to expect some of that. But sometimes it’s the uncomfortable things that spark action.

I applaud my West Midland Care Association members who seek to care for those with this memory-loss condition, but on their own they can do little to change the courses of its progression. You need research science, political will and money to do that.

Reading about Rebecca’s life, she clearly left a legacy. Her father said: “The thing I’ll remember most is her expressions of joy.”

I’d like to think too that out of the heartbreak some good can come and that can only happen if we get enough funding to have some serious research.

Alzheimer’s studies are comparatively many years behind the research on cancer.

In this season of giving – of joy, for which Rebecca was most remembered – spare a though for the charity that gives legs to the hope of a cure. Visit http://shop.alzheimers.org.uk/


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