Steve Berry, author of Behind the Sofa, has been made a Champion of Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity. The recognition follows his exceptional support as a fundraiser and spokesman for the charity. Steve, from Ware, joins a small but growing group of 23 Champions – supporters who have gone above and beyond to help the charity in its mission to defeat dementia.
The 42 year old began supporting the UK’s leading dementia research charity after losing his mum, Janet, to early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2009. He has taken part in numerous media interviews to raise awareness of the disease and other forms of dementia, and written a book of celebrity Doctor Who memories to boost funds for the Cambridge-based national charity.
The book, entitled Behind the Sofa, is a collection of over 150 celebrities’ favourite – and scariest – memories of the cult TV series. Famous names who have contributed to the book, a revamped and expanded edition of which was released in September, include Jonathan Ross, Lynda Bellingham and Al Murray. As well as landing a coveted spot in online retailer Amazon’s best books of 2013, Behind the Sofa has raised over £25,000 for pioneering dementia research to date.
Steve talked about his reasons for supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK:
“My mum, Janet, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2003, at just 58, and died six years later. I wanted to do something to help raise awareness of the disease, and asked myself what my childhood hero, the Doctor, would do if he had to fight an enemy like Alzheimer’s. The answer, of course, lay in science (fact, not fiction).
“When I conceived the book, I wanted it to fulfil two purposes; firstly, to raise a TARDIS-load of cash for scientific research into the form of dementia that affected my mum, and secondly, to show just how vibrantly the joy and wonder of Doctor Who can live on in the memories of those who experience it. All the author royalties from this book will be donated in my mum’s memory to Alzheimer’s Research UK, a charity dedicated to finding a cure for this terrible disease.”
“I am delighted and honoured to be made an Alzheimer’s Research UK Champion and I hope that my mum would be proud of me.”
Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“We are thrilled to make Steve a Champion of Alzheimer’s Research UK – he has shown such enthusiasm in his support for the charity and he truly deserves this honour. Steve is always willing to make the case for dementia research, and this is our way of showing our appreciation for his hard work and dedication.
“Steve has helped countless people understand the reality of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease by speaking movingly about his mum, Janet, in numerous media interviews. His great book, Behind the Sofa has already helped pay for over 1,250 hours of pioneering dementia research. Steve’s fundraising and promotion of research is a real asset and is bringing us closer to finding ways to diagnose, prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
“There are hundreds of thousands of people across the UK living with dementia today, including over 11,300 people in Hertfordshire. Dementia poses one of the greatest threats to public health now and in the future but funding for research still lags far behind that of other serious diseases. We rely on public donations to fund our crucial research and it’s thanks to the commitment and support of people like Steve that we’re able to continue our pioneering work.”
Further information about Alzheimer’s Research UK is available online at www.alzheimersresearchuk.org or by calling 0300 111 5555.