At age 62, Fiona Phillips says she has Alzheimer’s.
The journalist and broadcaster found out she had the disease a year ago, after having brain fog and worry for a long time. She told the Mirror that she had been feeling sick for months.
Phillips, who used to lead the ITV morning show GMTV, said that her family had been “decimated” by dementia because her mother, father, and uncle all had it.
She also told him that she was “getting on with it.”
The mother of two, who writes a piece for the Daily Mirror, told editor Alison Phillips that she was trying to “carry on” as usual but wanted to tell her story to help others.
She said that even though she thought she might get Alzheimer’s one day, it was still a surprise when her doctor told her that her test results showed early signs of the disease.
She says, “It’s something I wouldn’t have thought I’d get at 80.”
“But I was only 61 years old at the time.”
The host said that she felt “more angry than anything else” because the disease had already affected her family so much.
“It crippled my poor mom, and then my dad, my grandparents, and my uncle. “We just can’t get away from it,” she said.
Phillips said that she was taking part in tests for a drug called Miridesap at University College Hospital in London. This drug might slow down the effects of the disease.
She also talked about how her husband Martin Frizell, who is the editor of the ITV show This Morning, has been helping her take the pills.
She said, “Poor Martin, he’s been giving me injections every day. He’s been great.”
“The drugs are brand new, and they and I both have high hopes for them.”
She said, “I’m just getting on with it, I’m not paying attention to it.”
“I’m just doing my usual thing. I don’t want to stay at home and do nothing, play with my fingers, or watch TV. I just like to do stuff.”
Ms. Phillips is a columnist for the Daily Mirror and was a news reporter for GMTV for more than a decade, starting in 1997.
In 2005, she was on the BBC show Strictly Come Dancing.
She has talked in public before about how hard it was for her parents to deal with Alzheimer’s.
Kate Lee, the head of the Alzheimer’s Society, said that Phillips’s choice to talk about her diagnosis helped bring “much-needed awareness of dementia” to the public.
Hilary Evans, the head of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said, “It takes a lot of courage to tell the world about a diagnosis, and Fiona knows better than most how good that can be.
“It’s important to raise awareness, and Fiona’s courage will help a lot of people who are going through their own dementia journeys.”
She also said that about 70,800 people under 65 in the UK had dementia.