As we catch up on our ‘Meet the Champions’ series, today is the turn of Cate Latto, who champions Join Dementia Research in North West London.

Cate Latto

Cate Latto

How did you first hear about Join Dementia Research?

I was part of the Prevent Study, looking into midlife causes and risk of Alzheimer’s disease, as a participant with a family member with Alzheimer’s.

What made you want to get involved?

The clinical psychiatrist and research lead on the Prevent Programme who came to assess my mother told me about the research when we were discussing the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s not only on the individual but also on the families and loved ones. I felt compelled to become part of something, to somehow join up some of the gaps that had opened up for my mother and her family and loved ones. It felt like a lifeline, to be able to overcome the frustration of being unable to help bridge those gaps. It felt better to be a part of something than be outside of it, and I felt that getting involved with research made the experience less lonely and scary for me, as I felt I was joining a team and a powerful fight to beat this illness that isolates and destroys lives.

Why do you think dementia research is so important now?

So many conversations are being started now about dementia, which is brilliant, but they need to be continued, and the hope is to conclude those with a cure and/or ways to prevent this.  As long as there has been stigma and denial around this disease, the fear and the isolation and the late diagnoses continues; and unless people feel that there is a real chance we can work out what causes it and then find effective strategies to avoid it and drugs to treat it, then the fear will prevail.  Without people willing to become part of the research, any resources are limited, but with willing participants, research is more effective and can move faster and more effectively to beat this challenge. There is so much momentum now, it cannot be lost for lack of research participants. And importantly there is a mood now for change and people are ready to battle this together. It affects each and every one of us.

What have you been doing to champion Join Dementia Research?

Talking to anyone and everyone at work in the advocacy charity I work at and to family, friends, yoga classmates, anyone who will listen, about how they can get involved. For a lot of people they are surprised that there is a possibility they can get involved.

What do you tell people about Join Dementia Research?

It is better to be part of something, than to be outside and alone. Together, there will be solutions and cures for the future generations, my son and his children, and if there is one thing we can do to move this forward then joining Join Dementia Research is the thing to do.  The research is exciting and I feel that I am doing something of real value for myself, for my mother and other people with Alzheimer’s disease, and for future generations. My son has watched his grandma who he loves get lost in the disease and he has seen me pushed to the edge trying to help her and he has had his own battle with it in that respect. Every person who joins Join Dementia Research lights a candle for us all. My mother often used to say, “It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness”. She’s not wrong.


Martin-In-Garden

Want to join dementia research? Sign up today!

Want to find out more about Join Dementia Research? Why not browse our website and check out ‘Why sign up?’.
Please help us spread the word.
Have you been involved in a study on the service? What did you learn? If you are interested in telling your story, please complete the online form.

If you would like to share your story or be a Join Dementia Research Champion, please email us at comms.jdr@nihr.ac.uk. Please follow us on Facebook + Twitter and share your story!