Parkinson’s Awareness Week

Posted on April 7, 2014 by Guest Writer
Parkinsons Awareness UK

Thousands of people are set to take part in a number of adrenaline fuelled activities for Parkinson’s Awareness Week this month.

Among the fundraising events are an abseil down the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, marathons in Manchester, Brighton and Paris, and a 21-mile (34km) swim across the English Channel.

However, if all that seems a bit too vigorous for your liking, you’ll be pleased to know you can also help by joining coffee mornings, wine tastings and leisurely strolls in the countryside too!

Why is there an awareness week?

In short, Parkinson’s UK are organising the week-long fundraiser to help educate the public about the nature of the condition.

You might not know that Parkinson’s affects around 127,000 people in the UK or, to put it another way, around 1 in 500 people.

Among those with Parkinson’s disease are Scottish comedian and actor Billy Connolly, American actor Michael J Fox, boxer Muhammad Ali and British actor Bob Hoskins.

This year the focus of the awareness week is ‘control’, which aims to highlight the unpredictable nature of Parkinson’s and how to put people back in control.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s is a condition where part of the brain become progressively damaged over time. Symptoms include involuntary shaking, muscle stiffness, slow physical movements, depression, day time sleepiness and difficulty swallowing. For more information on the symptoms, treatments and causes, visit the National Health Service (NHS) here.

Parkinson’s Disease Facts

  • The average age for Parkinson’s to start is 60
  • Men are one and a half times more likely to get the disease than women
  • In England, the ethnic group most likely to develop the condition are white people
  • Parkinson’s was named after the British doctor, James Parkinson. In 1817 he  described it as ‘shaking palsy’
  • There’s currently no cure, but treatments are available to manage symptoms

How can I get involved in Parkinson’s Awareness Week?

There are countless ways you can get involved either by raising awareness, funds or both!

  • Display Parkinson’s Awareness materials in your school, workplace or local shopping centre
  • Hold a Great Night In to raise money
  • Sign up to Parkinson’s UK social media campaigns here
  • Share your story of how you have been affected by calling 020 7963 9370 or emailing pr@parkinsons.org.uk
  • Take part in one of the fundraising events nationwide. Click here for more details
  • Make a donation to the charity here