I was very upset to read that Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld books and creator of my favourite fictional witch, Granny Weatherwax, has been diagnosed with a rare form of early onset Alzheimer's.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, a progressive condition affecting 700,000 people in the UK.
Terry says he is optimistic and hopes to remain writing and active for many years. However, with there being no cure yet available for Alzheimer's, it is sad news.
I felt upset personally because I have helped care for three relatives who developed the condition in their old age - my grandmother, my father and my mother. It is tragic to watch a once intelligent and highly capable person degenerate to such a level that they can't remember the names of their loved ones.
My first reaction on hearing the news about Terry was to wonder if there was anything I could do to help. He has specifically said that he does not want to be flooded with offers of assistance, except from specialists in brain chemistry, which I certainly am not.
However, support for Alzheimer's charities might not only help Terry, but also help other sufferers with the condition. At this time of year, one thing we could do is buy a few greetings cards and gifts in aid of Alzheimer's. If you are interested in doing that, here is a link to the Alzheimer's Society's online shop www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/.
One thing I like about Terry's books is that although the characters might face insurmountable problems in the course of the story, there is always a happy ending. I only hope real life provides a similar happy ending to this situation.
Links to Alzheimer's charity websites: