Your past can tell one side of the story… your brain will help tell the future

NeuRA’s 1000 Brains Project will make advances in therapy and treatment that will slow down – or even halt – the progress of dementia.

Your gift today will help make this a reality


She was young when the dementia started, only in her early forties. I don’t know whether she remembers her daughter, or her son. It’s very, very tough. They don’t want to hear about it – they’re all so frightened. They’re very worried about whether they’ll end up with it.”
Joy Mallett, whose family carries a gene for dementia

Early onset dementia tears families apart in the most painful way.

Joy Mallett has done so much for so many, for decades volunteering for community organisations like Alzheimer’s Australia SA, Cystic Fibrosis Association SA, and the South Australian Museum. She’s done so much, in fact, that the Order of Australia Medal now sits on her sideboard, recognising the extraordinary contributions she’s made to this country.

But Joy has also been quietly suffering, and now she needs your help.

Joy’s family has a gene that causes early onset dementia and motor neuron disease.

It’s already taken Don, the love of her life. The gentle man she planned to stay with forever.

It’s turned her daughter Lisa into a woman she no longer knows. Joy’s loving and capable daughter is no longer able to speak, to care for herself, or even to recognise her own children.

Your generous gift will help fund NeuRA’s 1000 Brains Project, a cutting-edge research program run out of the Sydney Brain Bank, aiming to unearth the answers to early onset dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Your gift could result in new therapies, treatments and prevention measures to give people more time with their memories – and with the people they love.

 To accelerate the pace of discovery and help families like Joy’s, the 1000 Brains Project will examine patient samples on a cellular level, and look for patterns that can teach us why some people are vulnerable to diseases like dementia, and what might be going wrong in a person’s brain to cause that disease.

This ground-breaking research will study the genes of people who have reached old age with healthy brains and compare them with samples from unhealthy patients. NeuRA aims to identify therapies and treatments that can slow – or even halt – the progress of the disease.

Meaning precious more time Joy’s family could have together.

To help families like Joy’s, NeuRA plans to examine 1000 patient samples. I need to raise $750,000 before the end of the financial year.

Any gift you could send will help accelerate our research into these diseases even more. 

Unless rapid progress is made soon, Joy knows it’s only a matter of time until another person she loves comes face to face with dementia.

And Joy knows exactly what that can mean for a family. While holding back tears she told me:

“It’s very hard. You never get over it. Never.”

Lisa was married and had two young children. I took her to the doctor, and when he told her, she started screaming and screaming, and saying ‘I’m not like my father! I can’t go like that’. It was awful.

Now Lisa’s missed out on so much. She’s missed out on the kids’ twenty-firsts, all the family weddings, everything. She didn’t see her children grow up and now she’s got a little grandchild that she doesn’t know is there.”

Every day, NeuRA is making real progress into the causes, prevention, and potential treatments of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. And with your help, we can do so much more.

To see what new research discoveries can mean for people impacted by early onset dementia, you only need to look at Joy’s family.

After years of dedicated work, and with the support of generous people like you, researchers from NeuRA were able to identify the gene that has caused so much heartbreak in Joy’s family.

Finding that gene has already meant so much for Joy’s family.

Discovering the Mallett family gene meant Joy’s granddaughter was able to undergo testing to see whether she too had the gene that had taken her mother and her grandfather away. And while she faced the distressing news that she does have that harmful gene, she was able to take steps to ensure her own children would never inherit it.

I am thrilled to tell you that in February last year, Joy’s great granddaughter was born, a bundle of joy who – most importantly – is healthy and does not carry the gene.

But we still have so much to learn. More of Joy’s family, and thousands like them, are still at high risk of dementia. We urgently need new ways to prevent, treat and cure these heart-breaking diseases.

And I need your help so NeuRA can make these discoveries possible. Please donate today, and help stop families like Joy’s from being torn apart in the most painful way.

With sincere thanks,

Professor Peter R Schofield AO FAHMS PhD DSc

Chief Executive Officer



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