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Researcher, Steve Gentleman, holds up a slide showing brain tissue

New celebrity supporter Ayda Williams visits our Brain Bank

This week we welcomed Ayda Williams to our Brain Bank, where she met leading experts in Parkinson’s research and saw how their work is driving us closer to better treatments and a cure.

Actress and regular Loose Women panellist Ayda Williams visited our Brain Bank to learn more about the condition.

Her mother Gwen, after years of experiencing some of the lesser-known Parkinson’s symptoms like slow movement, masked facial expressions and a diminishing voice, was diagnosed with the progressive neurological condition in 2018.

At the Parkinson's UK Brain Bank, the world's only brain bank solely dedicated to Parkinson's research, Ayda witnessed the dissection of a donated brain.

The brain tissue comes from people with and without the condition. It lets researchers worldwide study the changes in the brain caused by Parkinson’s, and better understand why the condition causes certain nerve cells to die. Losing these dopamine-producing brain cells causes common movement symptoms in Parkinson's, such as slowness, rigidity and tremor.

An extraordinary eye opener

In her new role as a Parkinson’s UK celebrity supporter, Ayda Williams said:

“When Mum started showing these symptoms we never considered that they could have been signs of Parkinson’s – we’d only ever associated the condition with a tremor. I’m now learning as much as I can about the condition, which affects everyone differently.

“Spending time with some of the leading experts in Parkinson’s research was a privilege and a real eye opener into this serious neurological condition, which will affect 1 in 37 of us in our lifetime.

“I’m proud to join Team Parkinson’s and support Parkinson’s UK not only because of their dedication to fund pioneering research, but because of the expert support they provide for everyone affected.”

In her new role, Ayda will be working to raise awareness of the charity.

A huge thank you to Ayda and all our celebrity supporters

In response to Ayda Williams' support, our Chief Executive Steve Ford said:

“Every hour, two people in the UK are told they have Parkinson's. Yet, surprisingly, Parkinson’s remains a little understood condition. 

“That’s why we’re so grateful to Ayda and all our incredibly passionate celebrity supporters, who generously donate their time and energy to raise the profile of the condition, the charity, and the desperate need to find new and better treatments. 

“The main symptoms are often tremor, slowness of movement and rigidity, but there are actually more than 40 possible symptoms, including some that aren’t visible like hallucinations, depression, pain and lack of sleep.

“A Parkinson’s diagnosis can be scary, and no one should have to face it alone. But Parkinson’s UK provides valuable information on our website and offers a free confidential helpline, which can be a lifeline for anyone newly diagnosed or wanting to learn more about the condition.” 

In addition to funding pioneering research, such as that of the Brain Bank, we provide vital support services to those affected, including specialist Parkinson’s nurses, local advisers, a free confidential helpline, support groups, and exercise classes.

Make real breakthroughs happen

Our Brain Bank is just one example of pioneering research we can all be a part of. Every pound and penny brings a cure closer for ordinary, extraordinary people with Parkinson’s.