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Parkinson's public awareness campaign launched today across the UK

Parkinson's public awareness campaign - making toast

We've launched our first ever public awareness campaign today with adverts appearing on billboards and in newspapers across the UK.

Adverts will feature everyday activities which can become difficult for people with Parkinson's.

Many people living with Parkinson's tell us that they wished the public could have a better understanding of the realities of living with Parkinson's.

The campaign will reach around a third of the national population.

Image above: One of the adverts, which take everyday images and mix them up, to show how Parkinson's can affect messages the brain gives to the body, and make everyday tasks incredibly difficult.

New research findings revealed

To coincide with the adverts, we have also revealed the results of a poll which shows just how little the public know about the condition. Shockingly, three quarters of Britons (77%) have little or no knowledge at all about Parkinson's.

Worryingly, the research has also uncovered some troubling attitudes towards those living with the condition.

We believe that this new campaign will help to dispel some of the myths surrounding Parkinson's in a powerful way.

Graphic showing UK map with text 'We will be reaching nearly a third of the UK population with this campaign'More than 1 in 10 people (16%) reported that they would feel annoyed, embarrassed or uncomfortable, if they encountered someone with a tremor - one of the more visible symptoms of Parkinson's.

Steve Ford, our chief executive, explains:

"These findings underline what we've been hearing from people with Parkinson's across the UK - that the general public simply don't understand the condition.

"Disturbingly, because Parkinson's is so poorly understood, those with the condition tell us all too often that they are on the receiving end of these embarrassed and uncomfortable looks.

"This woeful lack of knowledge means people with Parkinson's have been arrested simply for not smiling at a sporting event, or refused service by taxi firms because people have mistaken speech problems - a common symptom of the condition - for drunkenness."

Dispelling myths

Steve adds:

"Things need to change. To think that Parkinson's is seen as no more than a tremor is plainly wrong.

"We believe that this new campaign will help to dispel some of the myths surrounding Parkinson's in a powerful way, so that people with Parkinson's gain the understanding and respect they so desperately need."