Over a year ago I decided to take on the challenge of an EPQ, foreseeing it to be of great benefit to someone like myself who is not often given the opportunity to present research on a topic that simply interests her. As an aspiring medical student, I knew instantly that my project would be based around a disease at the forefront of medical research and as I flicked through the recent news stories one disease in particular caught my eye: Alzheimer’s disease. I already had some knowledge of what this illness does and how it presents in patients, however I was intrigued as to what exactly causes it to manifest in the brain’s of otherwise healthy people and how it might choose its victims.
I first contacted Katherine Adams – a coordinator at Age UK who has worked with Dementia patients for almost a decade. She was able to give me an insight into the lives of not only Alzheimer’s sufferers but also their carers, whom I have grown to respect more than I can express. Whilst interviewing Katherine, I also had the privilege of meeting a man with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease who had overheard our conversation about his own illness. He politely interrupted to shed light on what it is like living with the prospect of slowly losing your identity.
I decided to hold a fundraiser in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society who work tirelessly to fund research into the cause, cure, care and prevention of dementia. The event included a bake sale, as well as problem solving tasks. On this day, the staff and students were encouraged to wear purple as a show of their support of Alzheimer’s research. What had started as a desire to do more to help those affected by Alzheimer’s disease resulted in the raising of over £200 for Alzheimer’s research. Whilst this is unlikely to cure the complex disease, it just might help someone like the man I met in the café and that is a pretty significant thing if you ask me.
Finally, I must say an enormous thank you to everyone who made this event possible. I couldn’t have pulled this together without your help and for that I am extremely grateful. Thank you to Katherine who helped my understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and answered all of my questions no matter how ridiculous! Most of all, thank you to Neil Riches who inspired this fundraiser and continues to live in hope that the research we conduct today will one day help other people where it could not help him.