Centenary of Alzheimer's

In 2006, ADI commemorated one hundred years since Dr Alois Alzheimer first described the disease that would later bear his name.

Throughout the year ADI coordinated a centenary awareness campaign, consisting of two international competitions and a sponsored trek up Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

ADI’s International Photography Competition

The competition encouraged ADI member associations to present a more positive, human image of dementia through photography. The images reflected the reality of living with dementia, respecting the dignity of people with dementia and focussing on the person behind the disease instead of the illness itself. A professional panel of judges – including James McKillop, who has dementia – selected the winners from over 100 professional and amateur entries and the prizes were presented at ADI’s International Conference in Berlin.

First prize in the amateur category went to 'Neli Smiling' by Federico Esterol from Uruguay.

The Journalist of the Year Award

This competition encouraged the media to portray a more positive and accurate image of dementia. Member countries were asked to submit one article from their national or local press where it was felt that the journalist had helped to further knowledge and understanding of dementia through their writing. For ADI it was a way to disseminate reliable information and encourage journalists to write about dementia.

The winner of the competition was Mina Sabagghi, from Iran, for her article 'Give me your hand':
"But how should we consider a patient who has no complaint or concept of their illness? In today’s cruel world maybe Alzheimer’s is a gift from God in your last years of life so that in your illness you forget ongoing difficulties and previous bitter memories. With Alzheimer’s, a person goes out steadily like a waning candle but is unaware of the process. Perhaps it is like a reminder from God for children not to forget our old and powerless mothers and fathers who were young and lively in their day. And we should remember that when they took our tiny and powerless hands, it is now our obligation to lend our youth and power to their weak hands."

Celebrity Support

Sir Cliff Richard, the well known British pop star, very kindly offered his support as ADI Patron for the Centenary year. Cliff Richard’s mother has Alzheimer’s disease and it is therefore a cause very dear to his heart.

Sir Cliff said: "I am happy to lend my support to and act as Patron for Alzheimer’s Disease International in this landmark year. Having first-hand experience of life with dementia – sadly my mother suffers from this disease – I’m well aware of the huge impact Alzheimer’s disease can have on both the person affected and their loved ones.

Despite huge and rapidly increasing numbers of people with dementia, the disease does not receive the attention and recognition it deserves. Dementia is still surrounded by stigma and myth, which act as barriers in securing adequate care and treatment.

Having seen the effects of Alzheimer's disease on my mother, I am only too pleased to identify with the work of ADI and to support their centenary initiatives. This year is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the disease, and I hope that together we can make governments and the public sit up and realise its devastating effects on people and families worldwide."

Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, president of ADI, sent a special message for the centenary:

"As we commemorate the 100th year since Alzheimer's disease was first diagnosed, we have the opportunity to look back on the advances made in care and treatment over the last 100 years but also to look forward and assess the needs of the 24 million people living with dementia worldwide.

Dementia indiscriminately takes loved ones away and places a great burden of care on family members and carers. I know this through personal experience after my mother, the beautiful actress Rita Hayworth, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 1981.

This year Alzheimer's Disease International is working with members worldwide to raise the profile of dementia and to call governments to action. We must work together to put dementia high on the international health agenda."

Ascent for Alzheimer’s: World Team

Ten people from eight different countries met for an unforgettable adventure on the slopes of
Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania for World Alzheimer’s Day 2006. Climbers from Turkey, Hungary, USA, UK, Canada, Hong Kong, Denmark and the Dominican Republic met on common ground
with one common purpose: to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in honour of the 24 million
people around the world with dementia. In total the team raised over US $250,000 for their national
Alzheimer associations.

"Never has the sight and warmth of the sun been a more heartening and welcome sensation than
it was that morning. As day dawned on World Alzheimer’s Day 2006 and the team made that final effort to make it to the summit, the feeling of awe, pride in our achievement and solidarity against dementia was overwhelming. Suddenly the exhaustion and aching limbs were forgotten as we jumped around, cried, laughed and embraced with full realisation of what we had achieved. Standing there together on the summit we paid tribute to the millions of families living with dementia who had inspired our adventure and who climb their own mountains everyday."
Melanie Legg, UK member of the World Team

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