Alzheimer’s Research UK has launched a new campaign set to pull at the heartstrings this Christmas.
A beautiful animation called Santa Forgot has been launched by Alzheimer’s Research UK to remind people across the UK that dementia can affect anyone.
Unveiled today, Santa Forgot is an animation that imagines 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 attention-grabbing 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.
Santa Forgot’s central character is a young girl called Freya, who has grown up in a world where Santa has stopped visiting on Christmas Eve. 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’.
Through the depiction of Freya and Santa’s elves, Alzheimer’s Research UK showcases that only with world leading research, new approaches and innovative thinking can the diseases which cause dementia be defeated.
Alzheimer’s Research UK supporter Alison Bulmer cares for her husband Paul at home. He was diagnosed with a rare form of dementia called posterior cortical atrophy (PCA) in 2012, aged just 53. Alison, who lives in Helsby near Chester, said:
“My husband Paul and I have been passionate about the need for dementia research for a long time. Paul knew it was too late for him but always hoped we could find a cure to help our children and grandchildren. I hope the Santa Forgot animation will show others what we know to be true – only research will defeat dementia. Sadly Paul can no longer follow images on a television so cannot watch the animation, but I hope others will share it and spread the word about dementia.”
Dementia is the world’s greatest medical challenge, not only for the individuals affected and their families, but also for society as a whole. Over 850,000 people in the UK have dementia, and the condition has an economic impact in the UK of over £24bn a year, more than cancer and heart disease combined. It is also the leading cause of death amongst women in the UK.
Hilary Evans, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“Santa Forgot is a poignant and powerful reminder that dementia doesn’t discriminate. We have to be provocative about dementia, to help fight misconceptions and fatalism around the condition and to demonstrate that pioneering research holds the answers. Santa is an important cultural figure, but the idea that he too could be affected drives home the point that dementia can strike those most special in our lives.
“Dementia is one of our most feared conditions, but misunderstanding persists that it is an inevitable part of ageing. Santa Forgot, like previous campaigns from Alzheimer’s Research UK, makes the simple point that physical diseases drive dementia, most commonly Alzheimer’s. We have made enormous strides against diseases like cancer and AIDS, and with the right research we can do the same for dementia. Santa Forgot reminds us to believe in the power of research.”
Well-known author and actor Stephen Fry is the narrator of Santa Forgot. He said:
“From the moment I was told about Santa Forgot I wanted to lend my support – it is an inspiring and beautiful take on a Christmas tale. I urge people up and down the country to get behind the campaign so we can fuel the fight against dementia and take a step forward to making it history.”
Santa Forgot will be launched this evening (Wednesday 16 November) around 9.15pm during an ad break on ITV and then shown on other TV networks in the coming days.