Samuel L Jackson has joined forces with Alzheimer’s Research UK to support a campaign to help end the “cruel” condition that affected six members of his family.
Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease of the brain that causes dementia, which is a gradual loss of memory and the ability to function.
Jackson’s mother, grandfather, aunts and uncles were diagnosed with dementia, and now the Hollywood star is helping Alzheimer’s Research UK’s #ShareTheOrange campaign, which aims to get folks thinking differently about dementia and challenge the belief that it is a natural part of ageing,
He said: “I’ve been surrounded by Alzheimer’s most of my life. My grandfather was my best friend growing up, so it was heart-breaking for me to see him not know who I was.
“The same happened with my mother soon after she was diagnosed. Her mother had it, her brother had it, her sister had it, and so did my aunt on my father’s side.
“It is so cruel having someone who has nurtured you and taken care of you reach a point where they can’t even recall your name.”
In the campaign, an orange is used to symbolize the weight of the matter lost in the brain as the condition develops.
Jackson said: “With research we know diseases can be slowed, they can be stopped.”
In a new short film for the #ShareTheOrange campaign, Jackson says: “The damage to a brain with Alzheimer’s can leave it weighing 140g less than a healthy one. That’s about the weight of an orange… this shows us it is a physical disease.”
Jackson and the charity are hoping the disease can be stopped and potentially cured.
“With research we know diseases can be slowed, they can be stopped,” Jackson said.
Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Alzheimer’s Research UK relies almost entirely on public donations to support its work, and the enduring misconception that dementia is an inevitability hinders our ability to recruit volunteers for research, secure funding and press for further government support for research.
“We’re calling on the public to #ShareTheOrange, turn fatalism into hope and make dementia the next big medical success story.”
Scroll up and watch Jackson’s short campaign video via the clip above.