utilities

David Cameron becomes our president

David Cameron

It was the end of the week that I resigned as Prime Minister. I was in my constituency, visiting a care home. A woman with dementia, who was surrounded by her loving family, grabbed my hand and stared into my eyes. As I looked back at her I could see she didn’t know either where she was, or who was sitting with her.

That moment brought home to me, once again, the desperate sadness of this debilitating condition. And while I didn’t know then what role I could play outside No10 to help with the fight, I knew it was something that I wanted to do.

Dementia steals people’s lives, turns their relationships upside down, destroys their hopes and dreams. We owe it to them, their families and their carers to find a solution. That is why I launched the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge in 2012. And that is why today I am joining Alzheimer’s Research UK as the charity’s President, so that I can continue the work I began in government focusing on this life-shattering illness.

Hilary Evans, CEO of Alzheimer’s Research UK, and David Cameron

I am a huge admirer of the work of Alzheimer’s Research UK. This ambitious charity is driving medical research to fight this devastating condition. They are uniquely placed at the intersection between the first-class academic research that is being driven by our great universities, and our cutting-edge pharmaceutical industry, which is best equipped to drive and deliver real world treatments. From this vantage point the most promising ideas from academia can be identified and their potential realised through industry-sponsored drug discovery. It’s a model that offers the best hope for turning a scientific idea into a life-changing treatment.

But it’s not going to be easy. I believe there are four great battles we need to win – and that is where I want to help.

The first is the battle to win a deeper public understanding. Over recent years, we have seen a gradual shift in society’s attitudes towards dementia: once hidden in the shadows, today diseases like Alzheimer’s are talked about in public more than ever before. But if the level of awareness is higher, a deeper understanding across society is still needed, with too many of us writing off dementia as an inevitability of later life – a natural condition of ageing – rather than being caused by diseases of the brain that we can and will overcome with the right medical research. Just as we did in the past with diseases like cancer and HIV, today we need to educate, inform and talk more – and more frankly – about dementia.

Second, we must win the battle of priorities. Cancer research and stroke research deserve all their funding – but dementia shouldn’t be so far behind. After all, dementia remains one of our greatest health challenges. Currently 850,000 people are living with dementia, and we now know that each year in the UK, the condition is responsible for 360,000 years of life lost. The condition leaves millions heartbroken across the country – whether they are battling it themselves or, as family and friends, caring for a loved-one.

Which leads to the third battle: winning continued support for scientific research that must be properly funded and promoted. Britain is in a great place to do this. Today, more scientists are working on dementia and there has been a renewed determination to catalyse world-class research as part of a truly global effort. I’m delighted that this focus on dementia continues under the present Government, with the creation of the UK Dementia Research Institute – signalling a clear statement of intent to the world to continue that effort for the long-term.

And this leads to the final battle: ensuring we work internationally to demonstrate that this is a global challenge that we will only beat by working together. Yes, our UK university and science base are world class, but if we are to confront dementia once and for all, we all need to pull together on a global basis. Alzheimer’s Research UK is leading the way, working with institutions across the world to fund vital research focused on preventing and delaying Alzheimer’s and improving the quality of life for those affected. The findings of this research will be made available to other scientists across the globe, helping everyone make progress faster.

When I launched the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge, I said combatting the condition was a personal priority. I feel that more today than ever before, not least because dementia, both as a medical challenge and a societal issue, can still feel at times like it’s a generation behind cancer or heart disease. But the future is bright. We can take optimism from the ideas, drive and innovation in dementia research. And we can be confident that we can emulate the successes of other areas of health research to avoid the heartbreak of dementia for the next generation. It is a goal I look forward to championing in the years ahead.

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12 Responses to David Cameron becomes our president

  1. Avatar
    Dr Richard Wilson 25 January 2017 at 9:46 am #

    I agree with Mr Cameron – why did he do so little when in office?!

  2. Avatar
    Wren 25 January 2017 at 1:43 pm #

    Honestly I am shocked and quite frankly appalled at this appointment.

    There are literally thousands of people out there better qualifield and better suited for the role. David Cameron is a vile, self interested idiot who left this country when he had thrown it into utter termoil, leaving it in the hands of a prime minister we didn’t select and surrounded by right wing etonites who closed in and pray on the publics fears, exploiting those fears to meet their own ends.

    David, you’re a disgrace. You say in this blog that the future is bright? No it’s not, and that is thanks to you.

    I hope you do this company better than what you did this country sir. I really do.

  3. Avatar
    Jordan David 25 January 2017 at 1:59 pm #

    Mr.Cameron,

    My respect for the effort you went through to launch the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge notwithstanding, you must appreciate that the appointment of yourself, not to mention any high profile political figure, to the position of President of Alzheimer’s Research UK is going to be contentious.

    While I admire your enthusiasm for taking action, there will be many people, myself included, who will question the moral implications of your appointment, given the stringent welfare reforms brought in my your government and the Ecological campaign you championed whilst in opposition and then abandoned in government – not to mention the ignomy of your departure from office.

    I will not be surprised if this comment is removed, but my point is simple: if this is not simply a vehicle to buttress your ego in the wake of the Brexit vote and you truly care about raising money for Alzheimer’s research then take a step back, and a less prominent position, because I guarantee your presidential affiliation with this charity will discourage many people from supporting the necessary work they do.

  4. Avatar
    Barrie 25 January 2017 at 2:01 pm #

    I would not have anything to do with something Doggy Dave was connected with

  5. Avatar
    Kevin Armes 25 January 2017 at 3:20 pm #

    So Alzheimer’s Research UK has appointed as their new president, the NHS budgets and social care funding butcher-in-chief David Cameron. Perhaps we can also look forward to Nigel Farage being appointed Press Officer of the Muslim Association of Great Britain, George Osborne CEO of Wonga and Paul Nuttall Head of MENSA?

  6. Avatar
    Rose Seabury 25 January 2017 at 3:23 pm #

    Absolutely horrendous hypocrisy!

  7. Avatar
    Ken Phillips 25 January 2017 at 3:23 pm #

    How can you be so myopic as to believe that this anti-humanitarian will further your cause?
    You have lost any hope of getting donations from me until you throw him out in the same way that he has treated the sick and disabled.
    Inexcusable.

  8. Avatar
    Richard Laurence 25 January 2017 at 3:26 pm #

    You have to be joking! You are primarily responsible for the withdrawal of care and support to sufferers of Alzheimers throughout the terms of the last Conservative governments.

  9. Avatar
    Keith Johnson 25 January 2017 at 3:28 pm #

    Unfortunately, there is no other way to express my concern and disappointment about the appointment of David Cameron as your president, than this.
    You’re having a laugh, aren’t you?
    Bang go your subscriptions!
    Of all the lame-brained decisions an organisation can make, you had to make the most idiotic of all them!

  10. Avatar
    Aaron 25 January 2017 at 3:29 pm #

    This appointment is outrageous. A man responsibile for the hard ship and deaths of many of societies most vulnerable, including Alzheimer’s sufferers, is unimaginable immoral and hypocritical on David Cameron’s part. It’s an insult to Alzheimer’s sufferers, their carers and families amongst others who have been the victim of David Cameron’s despicable Tory policy. Alzheimer’s research UK should be ashamed of themselves.

  11. Avatar
    Chris Chaney 25 January 2017 at 3:33 pm #

    I cannot agree more with the above post. I, for one (and I have had family who have succumbed to Alzheimers) will have nothing to do with your organisation as long as this monster is in this position. Upset and angry.

  12. ARUK Blog Editor
    ARUK Blog Editor 25 January 2017 at 3:51 pm #

    We do believe that Mr Cameron can make a difference to ARUK and help us drive research towards better outcomes for people with dementia. Read more about how in this article: http://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/david-cameron-announced-president-alzheimers-research-uk-2/