Monday, March 17, 2008

Putting His Money Where His Mouth Is

The BBC News website has an article announcing Terry Pratchett's donation to Alzheimer's research. Terry Pratchett, author of the intensely funny Discworld series in addition to numerous other excellent books, was recently diagnosed as having a rare early-onset form of Alzheimer's disease.

It bothered me to read that Pratchett is too young to be eligible for NHS coverage for the Alzheimer's drug Aricept. Thanks to the popularity of his Discworld series of novels, he can afford to pay for the drug out of his own pocket. Not many are so fortunate. (Fortunate to have the money, not fortunate to have the disease!)

The number of people suffering from dementia is comparable to the numbers with cancer, yet the amount spent yearly on research into finding a cure is less than 4% of what is spent on cancer research (11 pounds/year/dementia patient vs. 289 pounds/year/cancer patient). These are British statistics, but I would assume that the numbers are comparable in Canada, the United States and other countries.

Like other Alzheimer's patients facing the loss of their cognitive abilities, Pratchett is willing to try anything that offers him a chance. I loved this quote from the article:

The author told the conference he is prepared to go to extreme lengths in order to beat the disease. He said: "Personally, I'd eat the arse out of a dead mole if it offered a fighting chance."

No comments: