William Walker (pictured)
Alzheimer’s Research UK Supporter
Dementia is now the UK’s leading cause of death, with no treatments to slow, stop or cure the diseases that cause it. But research has the power to change that.
Dementia is one of the greatest medical challenges of our time
Around 850,000 people in the UK are currently living with dementia, a number set to rise to two million by 2050. Symptoms of dementia usually include a gradual loss of memory and communication skills, and a decline in the ability to think and reason clearly. Dementia doesn’t just affect memory, it can also affect a person’s ability to walk, communicate and even swallow. Sadly, the condition ultimately takes everything away from someone: until they need round-the-clock care.
Of the top ten causes of death, dementia is the only one without a treatment to stop or slow it. However, dementia is caused by physical diseases, and through medical research, diseases can be cured.
Alzheimer’s Research UK supporter William says: “There’s a lot of research going into heart disease and cancers. But now they need to find breakthroughs for dementia too.”
In my opinion more research is needed in this field, so that our children and grandchildren don’t have to face what we did.
Like William, half of us know someone affected by dementia
In January 2019, William’s wife, Hazel, passed away at the age of 71, after living with Alzheimer’s disease for several years.
They had met at a birthday party for William, where she was actually his best friend’s date. The couple spent 52 years together, and “would have liked to have had many more.”
Hazel was a devoted mother of four with 11 grandchildren. She was very much at the heart of her large family, and even when she was living with Alzheimer’s disease, she always had a smile for her grandchildren. “She always felt that same warmth for them and wanted to see them get married”, says William. Sadly, Hazel passed away before this could happen.
As Hazel deteriorated, it was heartbreaking for William and the rest of the family.
“In my opinion more research is needed in this field, so that our children and grandchildren don’t have to face what we did.”
With the generous support of people like William, breakthroughs are being made in dementia research to ensure that more mothers and grandmothers, like Hazel, live to see important moments like grandchildren’s weddings.
William’s legendary gift to Alzheimer’s Research UK
That’s why William’s gift is so important to Alzheimer’s Research UK. A third of their research is only possible thanks to generosity like this, helping to offer hope to future generations, in a world free from the heartbreak of dementia.