John Atkinson: living and dying with Alzheimer’s

Living with, and caring for, someone with Alzheimer’s disease is a tough, emotional rollercoaster ride.

In this moving film, Carol Butterfield, the wife of former Leeds and Great Britain winger John Atkinson, and John’s best friend and team-mate Alan Smith, talk through their experience with Alzheimer’s, having been with John throughout his illness.

John died in 2017, just three years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 71.

The RL Cares Brain Health Fund was established in 2023 to provide advice and support to former players – and their families – diagnosed with neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

To make a donation to the RL Cares Brain Health Fund click here