Santa Forgot – Alzheimer’s Research UK
Have you seen the new advert from Alzheimer’s Research UK? If not, sit down for two minutes and have a wee watch of this:
I first saw this advert at work, and had to take a little more than two minutes to compose myself afterwards. It is extremely hard for me to watch, as like too many families my own has been directly affected by the cruelty of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Christmas wasn’t as magical as it used to be. Someone was missing; tucked away. He began to mix up presents and muddle names. He seemed sad, distant, and afraid.
This month marks nine years since my maternal Grandmother slipped away, just a few days before Christmas. My family is extremely compact, and this hit our small number very hard. Nothing was ever the same again.
I struggle to find the words to articulate clearly how traumatic the few months between discovery, diagnosis and passing were, but if you’ve experienced it then you’ll know and if you haven’t, then I dearly hope you never have to.
If Santa had a disease, research could find a way to fix it.
I get a bizarre myriad of press releases landing in my inbox every day now; ranging from the irrelevant to the utterly bizarre, every so often something pops up which is truly worth talking about. RedWineRunner is just over six years old and there’s a lot of you out there reading this, so I’d like to take the opportunity to signal boost this campaign which is so very close to my heart. Do you run? Are you a parkrunner? Do you live near a town where there is a parkrun? If so, then listen up.
Parkrunners encouraged to ‘Donate Your Time’ for Alzheimer’s research this Christmas
The fundraising campaign Donate Your Time is being launched as a result of the public’s overwhelming response to the charity’s Christmas advert, Santa Forgot, which has now been viewed more than six million times. The animation has taken social media by storm with #SantaForgot trending on Twitter as dozens of celebrities spread the word, including the animation’s narrator, Stephen Fry.
Over the four weekends of December, anyone participating in parkrun, which provides free, timed 5km runs across the UK, will have the opportunity to convert their finish time into a one-off donation to Alzheimer’s Research UK, parkrun’s official charity partner. The money raised will help fund vital research into treatments and prevention of dementia.
To donate, parkrunners can simply click on the link in their results email after any parkrun from Saturday 3rd December until Christmas Eve, or go to www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/donateyourtime. On the website there is an option to halve or double the donation, or to donate an amount of your own choosing.
Kenneth Foreman, Sporting Events Manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Alzheimer’s Research UK is on a mission to defeat dementia. We need each and every parkrunner to help us change the lives of those living with the condition by taking part in Donate Your Time this Christmas.”
Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Santa Forgot is centred around the character of a young girl called Freya, in a world where the magic of Christmas has been lost because Santa is living with the effects of dementia and no longer visits children across the world on Christmas Eve.
The film highlights the varied symptoms and social isolation of dementia and raises awareness that the diseases that cause it, most commonly Alzheimer’s, strike indiscriminately and really can affect anyone – even Santa. On learning about Santa’s condition, Freya travels to the North Pole. She offers her own support and re-mobilises the redundant elves as researchers, explaining her belief that ‘if Santa has a disease, ‘research can find a way to fix it’.
I would like to encourage you to donate your time this weekend if you can, or donate whatever you can afford. December is always an expensive month, but I think most of us at some point think about what we can do to be charitable as well as indulge in the season’s frivolities.
Back in 2007, for me the idea of running was a comedy concept. Normal people didn’t run; we couldn’t run races – that was just for the “RUNNERS” in London on television each April, or those annoying, sporty girls at school. Who could be bothered to keep fit anyway? I thought that was for losers. I had other concerns.
Now, 2007 feels like another lifetime ago. My Granma never knew me as a runner; she was always staunchly, unwaveringly proud of whatever I achieved back then, but I wish she could have known about this huge part of my life. What would she say if I could tell her that I once ran 95 miles non-stop? That I ran the whole West Highland Way in one go?
My Grampa is still with us. The first mile of the D33 goes past the end of their road in Aberdeen, and every year he comes down to wave to all the runners as we start, and then he comes back around 5 hours later to wave at me as I finish and give me Merchant Navy-style abuse for keeping him out waiting and not being quicker. I wish she could be there too.
This weekend I will be donating my time after a visit to Stonehaven parkrun, and I’d love to hear about it if you choose to donate your time to fight Alzheimer’s as well.
For Doreen Hastie; 1926 – 2007.