This World Parkinson’s Day and Parkinson’s Awareness Month 2022 were a huge success. The community came together to encourage everyone to talk about Parkinson’s.
Our chair Gary Shaughnessy looks back on an amazing April and what’s next.
We say goodbye to World Parkinson’s Day on 11 April and Parkinson’s Awareness Month for another year.
For those of us living with the condition or watching their loved ones live with it, we wish we were not aware of it for just one day a year. But our fate is to be all too used to the realities of the condition described by James Parkinson in his paper “the shaking palsy” just over 200 years ago.
We may not be able to cure or stop our condition currently, but we can share the brilliant creativity, resilience and support of our community. Each year we do just that. This year we had two themes.
Poems for Parkinson's
The first was Poems for Parkinson's where the community shared poetry with each other. We received over 300 poems from budding and experienced poets. Writing limericks and sonnets, sharing emotion, experiences and encouragement.
We were even able to share them with the whole country. Digital outdoor advertising company SmartOutdoor donated free advertising space and inspired other companies to display poems on 1,000 billboards across the UK.
Light Up Blue for Parkinson’s
The second theme was Light Up Blue for Parkinson’s, which has a 4 year history for World Parkinson’s Day. The community started it in Scotland, spreading to Hull first and then across the UK for this year. From the Shetland Islands to Swansea, Belfast to London, it made us stand out and stand true and blue.
You can see more from World Parkinson’s Day below.
World Parkinson’s Day and Parkinson’s Awareness Month are also about influencing those around us. Helping others understand what we know and recruiting support from governments across the world.
- PD Avengers designed a new logo to recognise the energy that links us all.
- Parkinson’s communities across the world made their voices heard more, representing nearly 10 million diagnosed on this planet and 50 million affected by its relentless impact.
- Over 60 MPs took the time to visit us and show their support when we came to the House of Commons. Many of them shared messages of support after the event.
Not enough people understand what it’s like to live with Parkinson’s - so we've started the conversation in Westminster. 💙
— Parkinson's UK (@ParkinsonsUK) March 29, 2022
We can do more. It's time to be heard.
And yet, next year we can and must do more. This is why:
- Even with our increasing understanding of the condition, improvements with technology, exercise and diet, and the potential of a solution overall, the main drug used to mask our symptoms was created before Neil Armstrong landed on the moon.
- Despite all the evidence, major countries still use pesticides that are linked with higher rates of Parkinson’s.
- 87% of people with Parkinson’s in the UK have experienced discrimination. In many more countries, having Parkinson's can mean no access to medication, and prejudice alongside it.
Wouldn’t it be something if next year, the Parkinson’s community worldwide came together with one voice to make one thing change? Whether it’s a ban on potentially harmful pesticides, new medication or technology, or more investment that matters. To give us the hope that matters even more.
It's time for us to believe in a world where Parkinson's can be cured, where life with Parkinson's no longer means pain or mistreatment.
It's time to be heard. United behind one clear step or commitment that we want to achieve. Next year, let's make Parkinson's Awareness Month even bigger. Even louder. Together.