Sir Terry Pratchett died today; the Alzheimer’s he was diagnosed with 8 years ago – his “embuggerance”, as he liked to term it – finally catching up with him at last and stealing him away from us at a far-too-young 66.
I was in a very busy cafe with my 7-year-old daughter when I read of his passing. Not the ideal place to burst into tears. As is my wont, I held it in, smiled at my daughter who was excited over her new shoes and the BeastQuest book I’d just bought her, and I drank my coffee and said nothing.
By the time I got home, the urge to cry had given way to anger.
I’ve lost three grandparents to Alzheimer’s (we don’t know about my father’s father; he was off the scene when my father was still a baby). My mother has Alzheimer’s. It’s fair to assume that at some point in the next 20 years it’ll be my turn.
And it’s taken pterry (as he was affectionately known by his legions of fans) from us all far too soon.
And I’m angry. Angry because I’ve lost loved ones to Alzheimer’s myself, angry that others are having to go through this right now. Angry because although we know some of the risk factors for Alzheimer’s, we still don’t know all of them. Angry that there’s still no definitive early test for Alzheimer’s. No cure. few treatments, all of them of limited effectiveness. Right now the average life expectancy of someone with Alzheimer’s is 8-10 years after diagnosis.
And angry that there’s bugger-all I can do about it, except this:
Make a donation to Alzheimer’s Research UK (of which pterry was the patron) and ask you to do the same.