Nipissing University will be establishing a new support service for Canadians living with rare and young onset dementia.

It’s thanks to a $400,000 grant from the Hilary and Galen Weston Foundation.

Led by Dr. Mary Pat Sullivan, Nipissing University professor of social work and social gerontology, Rare Dementia Support (RDS) Canada will be delivered in partnership with University College London (UCL) in the UK.

“I am deeply grateful to the Hilary & Galen Weston Foundation for this generous gift and their ongoing support and championing of brain health initiatives across the globe,” said Dr. Mary Pat Sullivan. “I look forward to continuing to work closely with the large international team at RDS in the UK to advance our research in this area and provide evidence-informed services to this often-overlooked group.”

RDS Canada will provide a virtual space for anyone affected by a rare dementia.

It will offer access to information, tailored individual and group support, guidance, and connections with others who are affected by similar conditions.

Dementia care practitioner specialists, researchers, educators and individuals with lived experience will all be a part of the RDS Canada team.

“We would like to thank the Hilary & Galen Weston Foundation for their vision and generous support of this initiative which will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the lives of many Canadians living with rare and young onset dementia,” said Dr. Kevin Wamsley, President & Vice-Chancellor, Nipissing University. “Dr. Sullivan’s work in this field is inspiring and we are proud to host this national service here at Nipissing University.”

“Brain health and wellbeing is something our family is committed to supporting, so we are very pleased to contribute to the development of RDS Canada at Nipissing University to ensure Canadians living with rare dementia gain access to important resources informed by the latest research,” said Hilary Weston of the Hilary and Galen Weston Foundation.

Stats show that almost four million people across the globe are living with young onset dementia (30-64 years of age).

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***with files from Richard Coffin