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Dave Clark, an ambassador for Parkinson's UK

Parkinson's UK welcomes Ladbrokes' donation after ill-judged tweet

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Betting firm Ladbrokes is making a donation to Parkinson’s UK after a tweet about our ambassador and Sky Sports presenter Dave Clark caused widespread condemnation from the Parkinson’s community.

The tweet featured an image of Dave presenting Sky Sports’ coverage of the World Darts Championship, and referred to his facial expression. Sadly the tweet showed a lack of knowledge of the symptoms of Parkinson’s and that the condition can make it difficult for people to talk or smile. Many of Dave’s supporters and friends from the darts community and beyond have shared their shock about the message. Ladbrokes has since apologised for their tweet, and have announced that they will be making a donation of £10,000 to Parkinson’s UK.

Stiff or inflexible muscles is one of the main symptoms of Parkinson's, alongside tremor and slowness of movement

“We’re staggered at the lack of understanding of Parkinson’s that was displayed here,” commented Steve Ford, Chief Executive, Parkinson’s UK.

“Parkinson's can cause a stiff, ‘mask-like’ facial expression that can make it difficult to talk-and smile.

“This message did nothing to help people feel more able to talk about their own Parkinson’s. Sadly, we know that many feel that they need to hide their symptoms or lie about the condition, in some cases for fear that they will be stigmatised."

Dave Clark is a long-standing Parkinson’s UK ambassador and our Champion of Walking. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2011 at the age of 44 and has played a huge role in Parkinson’s UK’s work, raising awareness of the condition though various TV and radio interviews.

Dave has also raised a significant amount for Parkinson’s UK through his own fundraising, with the support of many in the darts community. In 2016 he also undertook the 200 mile Coast to Coast challenge, supported by many friends and family.

Steve Ford continued:

“Parkinson’s UK is proud to have Dave Clark as an ambassador. He has played a huge role in raising awareness of Parkinson’s and supporting others. He has also raised personally tens of thousands of pounds, to support Parkinson’s research."

Ladbrokes' donation to Parkinson’s UK will help our continued work to raise awareness and understanding of Parkinson’s to ensure a positive portrayal of people living with the condition.

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