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Renowned Northern Ireland artist Terry Bradley has joined Alzheimer’s Society to unite against dementia this Dementia Awareness Week (14-20 May), unveiling a new painting inspired by his parents’ dementia, prints of which will raise money for the charity.
This year, Alzheimer’s Society is asking people to come together to unite against dementia, the 21st century’s biggest killer, to help urgently find a cure, improve care, and offer help and understanding during Dementia Awareness Week.
Terry Bradley volunteered to raise awareness and funds, as both his parents have been affected by dementia. His father Frank, died seven years ago after a five year battle with Parkinson’s and dementia. His mother Florence started to show signs of dementia in the past two years, but is able to continue to live independently in her home with support from her family and a care package that provides health visitors three times a day.
Terry said: ‘The treatment and possible cure for people living with Alzheimer’s and all forms of dementia is something that is very close to me and my family. I saw my father slowly move away from us and into his own world and we are going through this again with my mother now. I wanted to paint something in memory of my father and ‘forget-me-not’ sums up how I feel about him and miss him. It’s important to raise awareness for everyone living with dementia as they lose their own voice and we need to talk on their behalf. I hope that the money raised from the ‘Forget-Me-Not’ print goes some way towards the fight against dementia.”
Terry grew up in the Oldpark area of North Belfast, living right beside the peace line. To keep him safe, his mother kept him in the house where he escaped the Troubles by burying his head in TinTin comics and teaching himself to draw. He left school at 15 and never went to art school, finding his own style with the iconic Sailortown docker paintings that first made his name. His more recent paintings are a brighter style, featuring a woman who reflects the “light and dark” of his life now.
Bernadine McCrory, Northern Ireland director for Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Just by speaking out, Terry Bradley is raising awareness of dementia and letting other people know they are not alone, while his generosity from the sale of prints of ‘Forget Me Not’ will help Alzheimer’s Society to both support people with dementia and their families and to fund research to find a cure.
“Dementia doesn’t care who you are; it could affect us all. It’s set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer, with someone developing it every three minutes, and so many people are facing it alone.
“People with dementia often feel – and are – misunderstood, marginalised and isolated, but with the right support and understanding they can continue to live fulfilling lives and make a contribution to their communities.”
Events will be held across Northern Ireland throughout Dementia Awareness Week, including information stands and drop in sessions in libraries. To find out about an event near you go to www.alzheimers.org.uk/info/20167/dementia_awareness_week
As part of its United Against Dementia Campaign Alzheimer’s Society has published the findings of its report Turning Up the Volume: unheard voices of people with dementia, which provides an unprecedented look at what it is like to live with dementia now in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, bringing together the views of more than 3,850 people with dementia, carers and the public, in a series of in-depth interviews and face-to-face and online surveys..
Alzheimer’s Society is here for anyone affected by dementia. The charity provides information and support, to find out more call the National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122 or visit alzheimers.org.uk/DAW
Unite with us now at alzheimers.org.uk