Great British Bake Off star Candice Brown has announced she is training for her first marathon after agreeing to take on the iconic Virgin Money London Marathon this year to raise money for the Dementia Revolution.
The announcement comes as the star baker takes to the screen with actor Ray Winstone, 18-year-old YouTube star Saffron Barker, Olympic marathon runner with dementia Ron Hill, and a 78-year-old retired Methodist Minister with vascular dementia in a new film to bust common myths about the condition.
The short film has been released as part of the Dementia Revolution, a one-year campaign from Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK as Charity of the Year for the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon. The Dementia Revolution has already gained support from Dame Barbara Windsor, whose husband Scott Mitchell and eight of her ex- EastEnders castmates will be running the 26.2-mile course to raise vital funds for dementia research.
Almost one million people are living with dementia in the UK and the condition is now the country’s leading cause of death. Sadly, there are no treatments to slow or stop the diseases, most commonly Alzheimer’s disease, that cause dementia but researchers are working hard to change this.
The myth-busting film opens with a call from Ray Winstone that ‘there are a few things we need to set straight’ before seeing Candice, who lost her grandad Fred to Alzheimer’s disease, explain the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Punctuated between celebrity voices are the stories of Dementia Revolution runners whose lives have been impacted by dementia, including 78-year-old Malcolm Brookes who is living with vascular dementia and Jack Bradshaw, whose mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease aged just 48.
“It’s hard to believe that soon dementia will affect more than one million people in the UK. My family knows all too well that this condition doesn’t just affect an individual but everyone around them. My grandad’s Alzheimer’s had a devastating impact on my nan, Marg, who died at a stage when her husband of nearly 60 years was struggling to remember who she was. You take the good with the bad and hold on to the good as much as possible but in the end, it’s hard and it’s heartbreaking.
“There are so many myths that still go around about dementia and the Dementia Revolution is a great opportunity for us to set these straight. Many people confuse Alzheimer’s and dementia, disregard dementia as a normal part of ageing or brush the condition aside as something we’re powerless to change. These myths are holding back research efforts so I’m asking people to share the film and help us spread the word about dementia.”
In the film, Ex-Olympic marathon runner Ron Hill, who is living with dementia, challenges the myth that life stops when dementia begins. He said:
“Dementia has stopped me doing many of the things I love, like running every day, but I’m not ashamed of it and I just have to live with it. If people are not looking, I do break into a jog for a while. I’m the same Ron Hill I’ve always been….just not quite.”
The film also features Anna Law, whose mum and grandad have been affected by dementia, and Luke Whiley, a scientist at the UK Dementia Research Institute, whose work is set to benefit from the funds raised from the Dementia Revolution campaign.
Speaking of her first marathon, Candice, 33, said:
“Last year I got married and this year we opened our first pub so it’s going to be tough to squeeze in training but it’s a cause so close to my heart that I will always make time. When the going gets tough, I’ll just think of Nan and Grandad and how much they influenced my life. If I can do anything to change the lives of other people’s parents and grandparents in future, how could I not do it?”
Jeremy Hughes, CEO of Alzheimer’s Society, said:
“This film shows the huge impact of dementia, telling the stories of just a handful of the lives affected by dementia each year in the UK. Every person with dementia has a different story to tell, but by helping the public to understand the condition, we can create a more accepting society that is driven to power change through research.”
Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“The Dementia Revolution can be a powerful force for good, helping to spread the word about dementia and raise funds for groundbreaking research. Despite misconceptions that nothing can be done, researchers are making progress and they will find a cure – but we must get behind them and give them our support.”
The Dementia Revolution is raising funds to power research at the UK Dementia Research Institute, the UK’s largest ever dementia research endeavour. The institute will see 700 researchers in six centres across the UK carrying out world-leading research into the diseases that cause dementia.
In January the Virgin Money London Marathon announced the campaign for this year’s event is #ThanksaBillion, as 2019 will see a landmark in the history of the marathon as fundraising from the event reaches £1billion.
To find out more about the Dementia Revolution visit www.dementiarevolution.org