Lowestoft fund-raiser to speak about Alzheimer’s ahead of Still Alice screening

Julianne Moore, as Alice, in a scene from the film, "Still Alice." PICTURE: AP Photo/Sony Pictures C

Julianne Moore, as Alice, in a scene from the film, "Still Alice." PICTURE: AP Photo/Sony Pictures Classics, Jojo Whilden. - Credit: AP

Personal family experiences of living with a devastating condition will be heard as a Lowestoft fund-raiser speaks about a very rare form of Alzheimer's disease.

With the early onset of Alzheimer's disease being portrayed in screenings of the award-winning film Still Alice at Lowestoft's Marina Theatre next week, the venue will be supporting Alzheimer's Research UK with a special collection for the charity.

And prior to the screening of the film next Friday evening, local fund-raiser Sophie Leggett – who has a 50/50 chance of developing Alzheimer's in her 40s – will give a short talk about her personal experience.

After her mum, auntie and grandfather all developed early-onset Alzheimer's disease in their 40s due to a rare, genetic form of the condition, the 38-year-old from Lowestoft has a 50 per cent chance of carrying the faulty gene and developing the disease.

But she has decided not to take the test to find out if she has inherited the gene or not. Instead she is focussing on living her life to the full. She has created a bucket list to help her make fantastic memories with her friends and family and raise funds for Alzheimer's Research UK.

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Screenings of the blockbuster film Still Alice will take place at the Marina Theatre next Thursday and Friday. It tells the story of Dr Alice Howland, a 50-year-old academic who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's.

Ahead of the 7.30pm performance next Friday, Alzheimer's Research UK Ms Leggett will speak about how familial early-onset Alzheimer's disease has affected her family and following the screening, will lead a collection for the UK's leading dementia research charity.

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Speaking about her reasons for supporting Alzheimer's Research UK, she said: 'I've chosen not to find out if I carry the gene mutation. For me, I would rather live with the 50 per cent hope that I haven't got it rather than knowing that I 100 per cent have got it, because I don't think I could deal with that.

'I travel to London every four weeks to take part in an exciting clinical drugs trial. I've found it a very positive experience to take part in research as I feel that I am doing what I can to help defeat dementia. Because of my family's experience with Alzheimer's, I make a fantastic guinea pig for research because they can track my brain for a long time before I possibly develop symptoms,' she added.

'I support Alzheimer's Research UK because I want to do everything I can for future generations that get a diagnosis of Alzheimer's or another form of dementia.'

Jessica Hiscocks, regional fund-raising officer at Alzheimer's Research UK, said: 'We are very grateful to the Marina Theatre in Lowestoft for supporting Alzheimer's Research UK with their screenings of Still Alice and we hope there is a full house across the two days.'

Tickets for Still Alice are priced £5 for adults and £4.50 for concessions.

All tickets purchased at least 24 hours in advance are just £4 and are available from the Marina box office on 01502 533200 or online via www.marinatheatre.co.uk.

For further information about Alzheimer's Research UK, or to find out more about fundraising for the charity, call 0300 111 5555 or visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org

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