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21st Nov 2016

This Might Be The Saddest Christmas Advert Ever

Alison Bough

The Santa Forgot campaign imagines a world where the magic of Christmas has been lost because Santa is living with the effects of dementia and can no longer visit children across the world.

Alzheimer’s Research in the UK has launched a touching new Christmas advert that will definitely pull at your heart strings. Narrated by Stephen Fry, the tear-jerking animation 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’.

The charity’s chief, Hilary Evans, said:

“Santa Forgot is a poignant and powerful reminder that dementia doesn’t discriminate. We have to be provocative about dementia, to help fight misconceptions and fatalism around the condition and to demonstrate that pioneering research holds the answers. Santa is an important cultural figure, but the idea that he too could be affected drives home the point that dementia can strike those most special in our lives.”

She says the ad carries an important reminder:

“Dementia is one of our most feared conditions, but misunderstanding persists that it is an inevitable part of ageing. We have made enormous strides against diseases like cancer and AIDS, and with the right research we can do the same for dementia. Santa Forgot reminds us to believe in the power of research.”

Narrator Stephen Fry said that he was keen to get involved with the project:

“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.”

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland say that there are currently almost 48,000 people living with dementia in Ireland. Around 4,000 of these people are under sixty-five and are classified as having younger onset dementia. They approximate that there are 50,000 family carers looking after someone with dementia and say that, for each person diagnosed with the disease, at least three family members are directly affected.

Have you experienced caring for someone with Alzheimers? Email [email protected] or let us know your thoughts in the comments.