It was 25 years ago that my mother died as a result of osteoporosis. In fact, she was exactly the same age that I am now. Then it was never discussed, rarely diagnosed and always attributed to old people. They just said well you’re getting old, that’s what you should expect - your bones crumble and you know we’re very sorry but you can’t do much else about it.
So I thought to myself there must be some way of finding out a little bit more about this disease, because my family and I were devastated but also we didn’t understand how somebody could be in so much pain and we were unable, the doctors seemed unable, to do anything about it.
So luckily down the road from where I live I found this wonderful tiny charity called the National Osteoporosis Society which was manned at that time by the indomitable Linda Edwards, and I know that Katie and Andrew Edwards are here today. And I also know that it would have been her birthday. So we really have her to thank for what’s happening today.
Anyway we got together and decided we had to have a plan to spread the word so to speak. Since then the whole Osteoporosis Society has gone from strength to strength. I can’t believe 25 years later what I’m seeing now. We’ve got all these wonderful medicines, there’s been incredible research going into it. We’ve got people on helplines helping others who obviously need a cheery chat to get them through it. It’s just incredible what’s happened and I just wish my mother was here today to see what could have been done.
But I also think it’s very important to tell my children and my grandchildren that this disease can be prevented. When you are young... you’re immortal. You don’t think about dying, getting old and breaking bones. But I think if we can just tell them how important it is to eat the right things, to take exercise - these will go a long way to keeping their bones healthy. I think the message is getting through slowly but surely, and I dare say I hope will be a way forward to find a cure for this devastating disease. I’m sure we’re not far off it. We’ve got the most brilliant brains working together to get there. I’m sure it won’t be long before we get there but we have got to get the young people thinking about it too because it’s their future.