Eastenders veteran June Brown will be raising awareness of dementia this month working alongside the Lewy Body Society.
The actress, best known for her role as Dot Branning, is patron of the Society. Her late husband Robert Arnold had dementia with Lewy bodies – a variant of the illness which attacks nerve cells – when he died in 2003.
Organisers from the Lewy Body Society have named their campaign ‘Polka Dot-ty Days in June’ after the actress – and are encouraging people to wear polka dot to raise awareness of the condition.
Lewy body dementia is the second most common form of age-related dementia, accounting for approximately 15 per cent of all cases of dementia.
It has motor and cognitive symptoms similar to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases so it is often misdiagnosed. Unlike people with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, people with this form of demetia experience hallucinations and dramatic swings in state of consciousness.
Ashley Bayston, The Lewy Body Society’s founder and Chair, said they hoped the campaign would raise awareness of the different types of dementia.
She added: ‘Just as every vacuum cleaner is not a Hoover or every tissue a Kleenex, not all dementias are Alzheimer’s.’
The Polka Dot-ty challenge is for people to wear the charity’s distinctive branding of white spots on dark blue and then post pictures of themselves and/or friends wearing the polka dots on social media their own as well as the Lewy Body Society’s Twitter feed, Facebook page and website. Postings to YouTube and Instagram are also encouraged.
The death of Hollywood star Robin Williams in 2014 bought Lewy Bodies Demetia to the attention of many people for the first time after he was found to be suffering from a combination of Parkinsons Disease and the Lewy Bodies illness.
Lewy bodies, named after the doctor who first identified them, are small deposits of protein in nerve cells which gradually destroy nerve cells and brain tissue.