World Parkinson’s Awareness Month

It’s quite a while since I last posted, but I felt that I had to add this post.

Monday 11th April was World Parkinson’s Day and April is World Parkinson’s Month.  My wife has had Parkinson’s for 10 years now. It’s the World’s fastest growing neurological condition.  It’s progressive and incurable. More than 145,000 people in the UK have Parkinsonism. Each has their unique set of symptoms ranging from tremor to muscular control problems and through to Parkinson’s dementia.

My wife attends a special gym where everyone has the disease and they fight back with boxing-related exercises. The gym is affiliated to Rock Steady Boxing International.  There are only a couple of such gyms in the UK but 800 or so in the USA.  At our Widnes gym, even Tommy the coach – an ex-soldier and former prison-officer – has the disease. He was trained and licensed by the International people in America. The members – many of whom were referred to the gym by their local NHS Parkinson’s consultant or Parkinson’s nurse, now, through the group, are part of a community of others who face the same problems. The exercises are endorsed by Parkinson’s UK – the national charity.

The exercises are designed to assist typical Parkinson’s issues such as gait, posture, ‘freezing’, articulation, recovering from falls and to stimulate neural pathways and maintain or improve core strength. The knowledge that you are not alone, the ability to see how others manage and to discuss symptoms, medication and feelings all also help.

Tommy provides several courses a week based on ability level. We are about to start using a different gym that the group has rented to provide better for all the types of service and number of sessions needed. He hopes to create a Parkinson’s hub to widen the range of services offered.

I attach a thumbnail image of the team’s latest T-shirts – black for the coach, blue for boxers and grey for volunteers. The logo encapsulates the attitude of the boxers.

Last week and this, for five of the days, a few of us have been walking around Victoria Park, Widnes to raise funds towards new premises for the gym. One of the members – ‘boxers’ – organised the walks with a target of £500. The target was reached before the walks even started.

I mention all this, not to beg for contributions but because the photos attached to my post today show some of the people who felt able to turn up on some of those days and the lovely park we’ve been walking around. Other than that, I felt it appropriate to help in a small way to raise awareness of Parkinson’s in this special month. People, when initially diagnosed, sometimes feel terrified – a few even suicidal – but in most places there are Parkinson’s groups of one kind or another and people to turn to who will listen and even become friends. There are coping mechanisms, information and medicines that can all mitigate the symptoms. Exercise – especially with others – is a great help.

If you have been – thanks for reading this.

Author: writingandphotography0531

I am a retired local government officer. At that time, I was an IT manager and had associated responsibilities for training. I have previously been involved, in various organisations, with aspects of industrial training and management development. My hobby is photography and, until recently, hillwalking in Snowdonia. I have just written my first novel, Persephone and the Photographer, published as a Kindle eBook.

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