One of the UK’s leading dementia research charities has received a gift of £40,000 from the will of a late widow of an Alzheimer’s sufferer.
Ann Whiteside, who passed away in February 2012, left the sum as a gift to Alzheimer’s Research UK in memory of her husband Hu, who succumbed to the disease in 1994.
Ann’s sister Margaret Chater explained the inspiration behind Ann’s gesture: “Hu lived with Alzheimer’s for five years and Ann devoted her time to caring for him. It put a huge strain on her as she had to do everything for him, from buttoning his shirts to helping him wash and eat. It became a 24-hour job. Hu had to go into care for the last few weeks of his life and it broke Ann’s heart. She knew there was no turning back as there’s so little money for research for new treatments.
“Before Hu’s diagnosis he and Ann spent their holidays trekking in various parts of the world – he’d always been a very fit and active man. They enjoyed being involved in village life in Luddesdown [in Kent] and Ann was church warden for a number of years. She also joined an art group and one of her botanical paintings was accepted to be kept at Hampton Court as part of their display. The local community were wonderfully supportive to her when Hu became unwell. It was such a blessing because I lived at some distance and it coincided with our father’s failing health.
“Ann was disappointed to find there were few nursing homes specialising in dementia care and was saddened by the lack of funding for research. She decided to leave a gift in her Will to help Alzheimer’s Research UK progress with its vital work and give hope to future generations. Even though she is no longer with us, it’s wonderful to know that her generosity and compassion will still make a difference.”
Director of marketing and communications at Alzheimer’s Research UK Steve Hudd remarked: “We are hugely grateful to Ann for remembering Alzheimer’s Research UK in her will. Her generous gift of £40,000 will pay for 2,000 hours of world-class research and essential equipment for our scientists. This will bring us closer to finding ways to diagnose, prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
“There are 820,000 people in the UK living with dementia today, including over 17,500 people in Kent – one of the highest county figures. Dementia poses one of the greatest threats to public health now and in the future but funding for research still lags far behind other serious diseases. We rely entirely on donations to fund our pioneering research and gifts in Wills form nearly a third of our income. However big or small, these gifts allow ordinary people to make an extraordinary impact on our crucial dementia research.”
Image: Ann and Hu Whiteside.