Terry Pratchett Talks About Having Alzheimer's

Posted on October 8, 2008

Bestselling author Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer's disease called posterior cortical atrophy or PCA. He has donated $1 million to the Alzheimer's foundation in England and frequently uses his celebrity to raise awareness of this devastating disease. His new article in the Daily Mail is a must-read.

My wife said: 'Thank goodness it isn't a brain tumour,' but all I could think then was: 'I know three people who have got better after a brain tumour. I havenít heard of anyone who's got better from Alzheimer's.'

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It is a strange life when you 'come out'. People get embarrassed, lower their voices, get lost for words. Part of the report I'm helping to launch today reveals that 50 per cent of Britons think there is a stigma surrounding dementia. Only 25 per cent think there is still a stigma associated with cancer.

The stories in the report - of people being told they were too young or intelligent to have dementia; of neighbours crossing the street and friends abandoning them - are like something from a horror novel.

It seems that when you have cancer you are a brave battler against the disease, but when you have Alzheimer's you are an old fart. That's how people see you. It makes you feel quite alone......You can't battle it, you can't be a plucky 'survivor'. It just steals you from yourself.

Terry says that Alzheimer's is incredibly underfunded and that he believes that a cure can be found. It is a brave thing he is doing: he did not have to "come out" as a dementia patient, but hopefully his example will inspire more people to donate to finding a cure. You can read more about Alzheimer's here.


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