Legendary Aberdeen footballer Denis Law has been diagnosed with mixed dementia, his trust has announced.
The 81-year-old, best known for his days playing for Manchester United and the Scotland national team, said in a statement he has “good days and bad days”, and acknowledged the road ahead would be “hard, demanding, painful and ever-changing”.
He has been praised for his courage in being open about his struggles by charity Alzheimer’s Society, which is to benefit from a fundraising walk by Mr Law’s daugher Di.
Mr Law said: “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 get worried for your family’
He added: “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.
“However the time has come to tackle this head on, excuse the pun. I recognise how my brain is deteriorating and how my memory evades me when I don’t want it to and how this causes me distress in situations that are beyond my control.
“I do understand what is happening and that is why I want to address my situation now whilst I am able, because I know there will be days when I don’t understand and I hate the thought of that right now.”
Through the Denis Law Legacy Trust, the former footballer has supported a number of community engagement projects, particularly centred around his home city of Aberdeen.
Support for Mr Law and his family has flooded social media, with his former club Manchester United tweeting that they admired “your openness, your bravery and your humility”.
Everybody is with you in this battle, Denis.
We are in admiration of your openness, your bravery and your humility to be open about your dementia diagnosis ❤️#MUFC
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 19, 2021
‘Too many sporting heroes impacted by condition’
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.”
To support the charity, Di Law will be completing the Thames Bridges Trek next month, which takes walkers along a 25km route zig-zagging across some of London’s most famous bridges.
Her fundraising page can be found at this link.
Mark Williams, Chief Operating Officer of Denis Law Legacy Trust said: “Denis is a fantastic patron of our organisation, Denis Law Legacy Trust, and we’re all very grateful for the time and effort he puts in to help us achieve our collective goals.
“As a player, his grit and determination took him from the streets of Aberdeen to the pinnacle of world football and everyone at the Trust knows he will use that same strength now to take on this illness.
“We wish him the very best and applaud his bravery in being so open about the matter.”