I was horrified to hear recently that modern literary genius, Terry Pratchett, has been diagnosed with a form of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. At only 59 years old, this is truly terrible news. Terry has spoken out recently and made a huge donation to Alzheimer’s research. The Sydney Morning Herald reported on the situation today:

Terry Pratchett - Photo: Ian West
Terry Pratchett
Photo: Ian West from smh.com.au

Three months after announcing he had the “embuggerance” of Alzheimer’s, Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld books, which have been stacking up for more than 30 years into a tower dwarfing Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, has donated £500,000 ($1.08 million) towards research into the disease.Famously, everything that interests Pratchett finds its way into Discworld: time travel, corrupt politicians, science, alchemy, collapsing postal services, dragons, goat’s milk cheese. His devoted fans will be amazed if some character is not struck down with Alzheimer’s disease.

The embuggerance, announced in December, was the diagnosis of a rare form of early-onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 59. Since then Pratchett has finished one book and started another.

At the announcement of the donation Pratchett was still cheerful, if angry, saying the donation was because Alzheimer’s research has been starved of funds compared with cancer, making him feel like “kicking the next politician I meet in the teeth”. Research will not cure but will help, he believes: “Personally I’d eat the arse out of a dead mole if it offered a fighting chance.”

Pratchett, whose total worldwide sales are somewhere in excess of 55 million copies, said the only change he detects from Alzheimer’s is that his touch-typing has degenerated into “hunt and peck” two-fingered tapping.

He intends to go on working for as long as the mind and the two fingers hold out.

(The above article is from The Sydney Morning Herald online.)

I’m devastated by this news and I’m sure my wishes will be accompanied by millions more from all around the world. Don’t give in, Terry!