John Barnes shares his aunt’s dementia diagnosis as he supports Alzheimer’s Society’s charity

Liverpool FC hero and Heswall resident, John Barnes, today revealed that his aunt is living with dementia and believes the condition is something we need to talk about more.

The footballing great, who won two Cup Finals at Wembley during his 10 years with Liverpool, said, “My aunt who was a dancer, a squash player, all of a sudden, 18 months ago she got diagnosed with dementia.

“As much as we have empathy for the people who have dementia, it’s the families who really have it hard as well. We have to support them.”

Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain he added that dementia is not something to be ashamed of; “There are lots of different types of dementia, but I think the most important thing is to understand it, to talk about it and not be ashamed. Having the conversation and doing something about it is vital.”

Alzheimer’s Society is the official charity partner of The Football Association (The FA), supporting players and fans affected by dementia. Last weekend’s FA Community Shield match, which saw Liverpool FC secure a 3 – 1 victory over Manchester City FC, saw a £120,000 donation from The FA to support the charity’s crucial work.

There are currently 900,000 people living with dementia in the UK, which could fill the King Power Stadium, where the match was played, 27 times over.

Alzheimer’s Society’s partnership with The FA and work across multiple sports aims to raise vital funds and help reach thousands of fans, players and former players affected by dementia with life-changing support.

Alzheimer’s Society also wants to break down stigma and change the conversation around dementia, creating grounds and stadiums where fans can enjoy watching sport for longer. The charity is also providing research expertise to The FA and directly funding its own research to best protect players for generations to come.

Steve Green, Alzheimer’s Society Area for Manager for Merseyside welcomed John’s support for the partnership between The FA and the charity. “As John knows football should be unforgettable, but sadly for the almost 32,000 people living with dementia in Merseyside and Cheshire, the precious memories they have collected over a lifetime can start to slip away.

“As the official charity partner of The Football Association, we are working together to help make the biggest difference to players, former players and fans affected by dementia.

“We are hugely grateful to The FA for supporting our crucial work. “Together, we can raise as much money as possible, change the conversation around dementia and reach thousands more people with our life-changing support.” T

o help Alzheimer’s Society use the power of football to improve the lives of people affected by dementia, you can donate online to Alzheimer’s Society today or text FOOTBALL to 70145 to donate £5.

If you, or someone you know, needs dementia support, call Alzheimer’s Society on 0333 150 3456 or visit alzheimers.org.uk/support For more information on The FA charity partnership with Alzheimer’s Society visit alzheimers.org.uk/fa

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