Law issues statement on dementia diagnosis
Denis Law, one of Manchester United's greatest-ever strikers, has issued a statement about his dementia diagnosis.
The Scot hit 237 goals in 404 games for the Reds, placing him third on the club's all-time list of scorers, and won the Ballon d'Or in 1964.
He said on Thursday:
“I am at the point where I feel I want to be open about my condition. I have been diagnosed with ‘mixed dementia’, which is more than one type of dementia, in my case, this being Alzheimer's and Vascular dementia. This has been an extremely difficult year for everyone and the long periods of isolation have certainly not helped.
“It is an incredibly challenging and problematic disease and I have witnessed many friends go through this. You hope that it won’t happen to you, even make jokes about it whilst ignoring the early signs because you don’t want it to be true. You get angry, frustrated, confused and then worried, worried for your family, as they will be the ones dealing with it.
“In the height of the pandemic, I said I hoped that if one positive was to come out of it, it would be that it would make people kinder to each other, so that’s what I am hoping for now. I don’t want people to be saddened if I forget places, people or dates because you need to remember I enjoyed all those memories and I am lucky to have experienced what I have in my life…a loving and supportive family, a great career doing what I loved and getting paid to do it, and lifelong friends.
“I have good days and bad days and aim to take each day as it comes adjusting my lifestyle accordingly. I hung up my football boots a long time ago and now it’s time to put my signing days behind me too, so apologies to anyone who has sent me anything but I am just not able. I am trying to be positive and determined to continue watching my club, Manchester United at Old Trafford, hopefully this will be a season of success and I am excited by the new signings that Ole and the club have made.
“I know the road ahead will be hard, demanding, painful and ever changing and so ask for understanding and patience as this will not be an easy journey, especially for the people who love you the most.
“My daughter, Di, is completing ‘The Thames Bridges Trek’ challenge on 11 September to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society so, if you can, please donate here.
“As a family, we have been offered support by Alzheimer’s Society and have chosen to fundraise for the charity to help support its crucial work. Alzheimer’s Society’s services have never been in more need, used over 5.5 million times since March 2020, and are a lifeline to thousands of families who are also facing a dementia diagnosis.
“The charity is also doing amazing work with the sports industry, with its Sport United Against Dementia campaign, which I fully support. This really could make the biggest difference to former players, players, and fans alike."
Kate Lee, chief executive at Alzheimer’s Society said:
“We have offered support to Denis Law and the whole family. We are incredibly thankful to the family for choosing to raise vital funds for us and hope Denis’s bravery in coming forward will encourage many others to seek the help they need, for which we are hugely grateful.
‘We’ve seen too many sporting heroes impacted by the condition, which is why our Sport United Against Dementia campaign is needed now more than ever. It’s never been more important to fund crucial research and our vital support services and ensure that right now, past and present players, as well as fans, know our services are here and can get the dedicated dementia support they deserve.”
* To find out more and donate to Alzheimer’s Society’s Sport United Against Dementia, visit alzheimers.org.uk/SUAD
* For up-to-date information, services and practical advice, please visit alzheimers.org.uk
* Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Connect support line 0333 150 3456 is available seven days a week, providing information and practical measures for people affected by dementia.
* Alzheimer's Society is the UK's leading dementia charity. We provide information and support, fund research, campaign to improve care and create lasting change for people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In a separate statement, the club added: “Denis Law will always be one of this club’s greatest legends and everybody at Manchester United sends our love and best wishes to him and his family.
“We know our fans around the world will also rally behind him.
“We applaud Denis’s brave words and will continue to offer whatever support we can as he adapts to this challenging condition.”
A reminder that Di Law, Denis's daughter, is taking part in the 'The Thames Bridges Trek' on 11 September to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Society - please donate here.