Sunday, March 30, 2008

What to do when you can't actually help

Many of you will have seen the news that the author Terry Pratchett has been diagnosed with a rare form of early onset Alzheimer's disease. The news was posted on the Discworld News site last December, in Terry's inimitable style. If you have never read one of Terry's books, I urge you go to your nearest bookstore, and rectify the situation. I'd suggest that you start with "The Colour of Magic", but they are all hilarious. With the state of the world today, anything that generates a genuine laugh should be cherished: I've read most of Terry Pratchett's books, and they have given me hours of enjoyment, cheered me up when I was down, and reminded me that there are many intelligent, useful people in the world (there are days when I have doubts).

However, good things can come from bad: Terry has made a large donation to the Alzheimer's Trust, and they have gained a vocal advocate. Research into Alzheimer's disease is not well funded, and it is a condition that many of us will have to deal with in the future, either because we contract it ourselves, or because someone we know contracts it: the incidence of the condition is rising. Increased funding for research will give us all a better chance in the future, and with that in mind, I've decided to make a donation to Alzheimer's Australia. If you've ever read and enjoyed a Terry Pratchett book (or even if you just dislike the thought of losing your mind) I'd like to ask you to make a donation to your local Alzheimer's support organisation or trust.

I decided to count the number of Terry Pratchett books in the house (39, and I know I am behind on his newer works, so say 40) and I'm going to donate one dollar per book per month. I can afford it, and I'm going to feel like a complete idiot if I get this thing in 10 years time (I'm about 10 years younger than Terry), and I have to look back and know that I didn't do something when I had the chance. It may take decades to find a cure, and research has to be funded, so let's all do what we can. If you can afford it, please donate: every little helps.

I'm also adding a social bookmarking button to this page. I don't normally do this, because I figure that people will submit links to Reddit/Digg/Furl/delicious or whatever as the mood takes them, and it's not my business to push. However, this is a special case: PLEASE Link, Bookmark or Share this post: the Add This button is on the left.

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