This is a personal blog and I don’t generally bring business or clients into it, but this one is important!
This year Parkinson’s Awareness Week (10-16 April) marks two milestones. It was exactly 200 years ago yesterday that James Parkinson first identified the condition in his ‘Essay on the Shaking Palsy’; and it was 50 years ago that the last major breakthrough in Parkinson’s medication was made with the arrival of levodopa.
But these anniversaries are no cause for celebration. 200 years on 3,600 people with Parkinson’s in Northern Ireland are still waiting for an effective treatment that tackles the condition head on. And it’s unacceptable that 50 years after levodopa people with Parkinson’s continue to struggle to do the simple things that most of us take for granted.
Parkinson’s can fluctuate dramatically too with symptoms varying day by day and even hour by hour. People with Parkinson’s often experience tremor, slowness of movement and rigidity. Other less common symptoms include tiredness, insomnia, pain, nausea, loss of balance and constipation.
But that’s not the whole story because Parkinson’s affects almost every area of a person’s life. As well as the physical symptoms people with Parkinson’s can also have a range of ‘hidden’ symptoms including anxiety, depression, hallucinations and mental health problems.
The slow progress towards new treatments is just not good enough and Parkinson’s UK is today saying we won’t wait any longer.
The We Won’t Wait campaign aims to deliver better treatments in years not decades. Current drugs for Parkinson’s don’t stop the condition from getting worse – they only paper over the cracks by masking the symptoms. And all too often the treatments have distressing side effects.
Decades of research has deepened our understanding of Parkinson’s. We’ve discovered
We believe the science is ready for those discoveries to leave the lab and be turned into life-changing treatments. We’re convinced that new and effective treatments are within our grasp and we’re ready to drive forward the research community in a radical new approach to develop better treatments, faster.
We want to encourage better leadership that brings the best ideas together to accelerate the journey towards better treatments and ultimately a cure.
People with Parkinson’s describe the condition as taking away a little piece of them every day and are hugely concerned about the affects it has on their families. We want to change that and we want this to be the last generation of people with Parkinson’s in Northern Ireland who face an uncertain future knowing that their condition will never improve.
They don’t want to wait any longer for better treatments. And nor should they. But we can’t do this alone. That’s why we’re urgently asking people to donate whatever they can to support our vital research. We can’t stand by and let Parkinson’s treatments fall further behind.
To donate or find out more about the We Won’t Wait campaign visit www.wewontwait.parkinsons.org.uk