There Isn't One Parkinson's Journey: Geraldine's story

Geraldine has had Parkinson's for over 37 years. She talks to us about the impact dance has had on her symptoms. 

Hello. I'm Geraldine Peacock, and I love to dance.

I've had Parkinson's for 37 years now. Before I was diagnosed, my handwriting had started getting very small and people thought it was a trapped nerve or something. 

I just felt different somehow. I knew there was something wrong with me. I was in the middle of an interview to become the chief executive of Guide Dogs for the Blind and their medical test picked up on it too. I got the news when I was in a telephone kiosk at Heathrow waiting for a plane to go to Singapore!

At first, I thought "I can't reject this diagnosis, because it's not going to go away. I don't want to fight it because that will be tiring. I've got to try and accommodate it somehow".

Guide Dogs gave me the job despite my diagnosis. They said, "we don't want your body, we want your head". So there I was with a job and a disease. It was a difficult moment in time.

I knew I needed more exercise. I do physio twice a week. But dance appealed to me because all my thwarted ambitions of being an actress came running back and I could do it through the musical form!

Dance is surprisingly something that has given me great hope with Parkinson's. It just makes you feel so good. You go in there feeling like a wet Sunday and you come out sparkling! It's 2 hours non-stop with no break. It's very galvanising. It gave me my self-confidence back again.

Parkinson's made me realise I wasn't prepared to have my life ruined by an unwelcome condition. You can't cure Parkinson’s, but you can live a lifestyle which makes it much more easy to be with. 

Get your dancing shoes on!

If you have Parkinson’s, dance has lots of benefits. It can help improve your posture, core strength and coordination. 

"It just makes you feel so good. You go in there feeling like a wet Sunday and you come out sparkling!"