Today sees the launch of the Financial Times 2017/18 Seasonal Appeal, and we are honoured that Alzheimer’s Research UK has been selected as this year’s chosen charity. Thanks to the generosity of its readers, the FT has raised more than £17m for charitable causes over the past decade. And it’s fitting that this year this global organisation is turning its attention to dementia – a condition that is truly global in its impact, and for which there is currently no cure and no treatment to stop or slow the underlying diseases that cause it.
It’s difficult to overstate dementia’s impact. Today the condition affects nearly 48 million people worldwide, and it’s estimated that next year dementia will cost the global economy $1 trillion. But behind the statistics are countless families for whom the impact is deeply personal – people whose lives have been ripped apart by a condition that currently, no one survives. These are the people who inspire our work, and it’s their experiences that make the FT Seasonal Appeal so important.
Experience from other conditions has shown us that progress in research comes much faster when you have the backing of the public. But across society, dementia has for too long been misunderstood: dismissed as a natural part of ageing, or just simple forgetfulness. A crucial part of our work at Alzheimer’s Research UK is to confront those misconceptions, because we know that when people understand that dementia is caused by diseases, they begin to recognise the potential for research to defeat it. Perceptions of dementia are beginning to change, as this weekend’s launch article for the Appeal shows, and the coverage over the next few weeks will play a vital role in driving much-needed conversations about dementia. As well as raising vital funds for pioneering research into new treatments, the FT’s global reach will help to shine a spotlight on the condition, highlighting its impact on individuals across the world and showcasing the progress being made by the scientists who have dedicated themselves to this challenge.
All the money raised from the Appeal will go to support the Alzheimer’s Research UK Drug Discovery Alliance – a network of three flagship Institutes at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, and University College London, where world-leading scientists are working to fast-track the development of future treatments for dementia. This ambitious initiative is translating promising scientific breakthroughs into tomorrow’s medicines, with dedicated teams working as part of one of the largest and most co-ordinated efforts to find dementia drugs. You’ll be able to read more about their work in the FT during the course of the Appeal.
None of this progress would be possible without the support of people like you. With no government funding for our research, your backing is critical and it’s why we’re so grateful to be the FT’s chosen charity this year, and to everyone who chooses to make a donation as a result.
We’ll keep you updated on the progress of the Appeal and the work of the Drug Discovery Alliance. We’d like to say a huge thank you to the Financial Times for choosing us as their charity partner for 2017/18, and to all those who choose to make a donation.