Lewy Body Society welcomes two new Ambassadors

The Lewy Body Society, the charity dedicated to the second most common form of dementia among older people, has welcomed Chris Maddocks and John O’Doherty as its latest Ambassadors.

The charity’s Ambassadors are usually people who have experience of Lewy body dementia and are willing to help promote and support its work promoting research into the disease, and providing information and support to those affected. This can include representing the Lewy Body Society in the media or at events, giving feedback on information materials and generally ensuring that the experience of people living with dementia and their carers at the heart of everything it does.

Jacqueline Cannon, Chief Executive of the Lewy Body Society, said:

“We are thrilled that Chris and John have accepted our invitations to become Ambassadors. It is very important to us that our work is guided by the experiences of people directly affected by Lewy body dementia. Myself and the Chair of Trustees cared for family members with the disease, but it is also important that we hear directly from those living with dementia. Both Chris and John are passionate and experienced campaigners who will help us raise awareness of Lewy body dementia and support our work on research and supporting people affected by the disease.”

John O’Doherty is from Bolton and is a writer and public speaker on dementia. He is currently living with vascular dementia and his mum had Lewy body dementia. John is dedicated to improving the care of people living with dementia as a member of the Greater Manchester Combined Health Group and is a member of the Wigan DEEP (Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project) Group.

John O’Doherty said:

“From my own experience of living with dementia and the time I spent caring for my mum, I know how different the types of dementia can be. I am passionate about Lewy body dementia as not many people have heard of it, even though it is the second most common type of dementia in older people.

I want to support the Lewy Body Society to raise awareness of the disease and to encourage people living with dementia and their carers to get involved in research. I have been involved in several studies myself and found it a rewarding experience, as I know it will help improve the diagnosis and treatment of dementia in future.”

Chris Maddocks lives in Eastbourne and was a police officer for 30 years. Chris was initially diagnosed with vascular dementia at the age of 60 following a number of minor strokes, but in early 2020 the diagnosis was changed to Lewy body dementia following a brain scan.

Chris has already spoken about her experience of life with dementia in the media and at conferences and gives an honest and thoughtful account of life with the disease and all the practical and emotional challenges she faces. She believes people diagnosed with dementia need better information and access to support networks, and is also keen to tackle the discrimination which she’s observed in some services.

Chris Maddocks said:

“I feel privileged and honoured to have been asked to be an Ambassador for the Lewy Body Society. I want to raise awareness of this disease and hopefully help others not to experience some of the negative issues that I experienced. I think the Lewy Body society and its Consultant Admiral Nurse Rachel Thompson are doing wonderful work to raise awareness and provide help and support for those affected by Lewy Body dementia, both the person living with it and their carers.

I’ve already had the opportunity to use my skills and knowledge as an Ambassador with Alzheimer’s Society. I’ve had the opportunity to influence, to give talks, help to train staff and I’m excited to see how I can get involved in the future by taking on this additional role. My fight is back, and I want to help make a difference, feel useful instead of useless. Begin to try to live my life again and enjoy life which I had not been able to do.”

Chris and John join the existing Lewy Body Society Ambassadors Chris Leek, Lesley Magee, Ken Clasper and Conor McGinn MP.