Local woman finds new TV ad ‘uplifting’

Cathy and her granny Lilian McAuley
Cathy and her granny Lilian McAuley

A beautiful animation called Santa Forgot has been launched by Alzheimer’s Research UK to remind people across Northern Ireland that dementia can affect anyone - and Coleraine woman has spoken of how “incredibly moving” she found it.

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 Cathy Temple, from Coleraine, said she found the advert to be “incredibly moving” and “uplifting”. Cathy’s granny Lilian McAuley was diagnosed with vascular dementia in January 2015, and is now living in a care home.

Cathy said: “This awful disease not only robbed her of her memories, created confusion and anxiety but perhaps most heartbreakingly it sabotaged her personality.

“I’ve seen the devastating impact dementia has on families and I would do anything to see it defeated. I was incredibly moved by the advert and I think it will have a huge impact on the public as Christmas approaches. The film shows that dementia doesn’t discriminate, it affects people from so many different backgrounds.

“Santa Forgot, though sad and moving, is also positive and uplifting. It gives a sense of hope that one day, through research, we will all be free from the fear and heartbreak of 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.

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.”

To view the animation visit: https://youtu.be/59pahEPbgfw