Joyce to donate her brain for dementia research

Joyce Greely who will donate her brain for research into dementia.
Joyce Greely who will donate her brain for research into dementia.

An award-winning volunteer is donating her brain for research into dementia.

Joyce Greely is hoping that her donation for scientific research can help find a cure for the disease.

The former civil servant, 79, of North Shields, has recieved a Commendation Award from the Chairman of North Tyneside Council for her invaluable work with the town’s Singing for the Brain group.

Alzheimer’s Society Group Coordinator Susie Flintham said: “Joyce stepped in to keep the Singing for the Brain group going for three months after its leader left.

“Around 40 people attend the sessions and many say it’s the highlight of their week, but without Joyce’s hard work the entire service could have ground to a halt.

“I can’t thank her enough for the effort she has put in. She is a wonderful volunteer and ambassador for Alzheimer’s Society and this award is fully deserved.”

Joyce, who has has no personal experience of dementia, said: “I was watching a television show one day and saw how people with dementia reacted when engaged in creative activities and thought ‘I want to be part of that’.

“Now I wouldn’t miss Singing for the Brain for the world. I’ve been involved with the group for eight years and love every minute of it.”

And Joyce’s determination to battling dementia will continue even when she is no longer around.

She added: “I am donating my brain and stem cells to scientific research – and I’ve persuaded eight other people do it too!

“I have regular checks and my brain has not deteriorated – I’m as sharp as a dart. But the idea is that my brain tissue can be compared with that of someone who has dementia.

“I would love to think that my decision might in some small way contribute to improving our knowledge of this awful condition and possibly even finding a cure…but, of course, I will never know.”

Singing for the Brain – which uses music and movement to stimulate brain function in people with dementia – meets every Monday at St Columbas United Reformed Church.

Joyce said: “Singing unlocks a little box somewhere in people who otherwise appear incapable of communicating.

“I’ll never forget the time I heard a man who seemed to have no coherent speech sing a note perfect rendition of Danny Boy. Moments like that really pull on the heart strings.

“You see people’s faces light up when they sing – and my view is that if I can be part of changing someone’s life for the better for just one day, it’s worth it.”

The North Shields Singing for the Brain group meets every Monday between 1.30pm and 3pm at St Columbas United Reformed Church. To find out more contact Susie Flintham on 0191 298 3989.