Julie was many things to many people: loving wife, devoted mother, daughter, sister, dear friend, kind and clever colleague, an inspiration. Glamorous and fun, she could light up a room. She was also someone who battled early-onset dementia.
Julie was just into her sixties when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. A proud, strong, independent women, she didn't want others to know. No one was prepared for the depths of the decline that was to come.
Without wishing to take away from anyone else's experience of a sick and dying relative, Alzheimer's is an unspeakably cruel disease - both for the sufferer and those close to them. There is no cure for Alzheimer's or any other type of dementia. Alzheimer's relates to a loss of brain function which is progressive and eventually severe. Dementia is a terminal condition.
We will miss our vivacious, loving, beautiful and brave Julie every single day, and forever. The only thing that makes her passing bearable is that she died at home taking comfort from having her devoted family around her.
Dementia research is desperately underfunded. Very few can afford to give home care, and despite the assistance provided by some local services, more public awareness is critical. There are not enough researchers and clinicians joining the fight against dementia. Five times fewer researchers choose to work on dementia than on cancer. For every person living with dementia, the annual cost to the UK economy is over £30,000, and yet only £90 per person is spent on dementia research each year.
Julie's generosity and charitable kindness suggest that she would want others to benefit and learn from her experience. In acknowledgment of these qualities the family has donated much-needed brain tissue to Alzheimer's research. As a team of fundraisers, in Julie's memory we want to overcome this lack of understanding of dementia once and for all.
Please donate generously.