World Parkinson’s Day 2023

Take a look at how the bright and brilliant Parkinson’s community marked World Parkinson’s Day 2023.

We’re still hearing from the community about their World Parkinson’s Day reflections, activities and events.  Here is the story of World Parkinson’s Day 2023 and some of the highlights so far.

The co-production approach

We began our co-production journey together in November 2022. 17 people living with Parkinson's, or who have a connection to the condition, volunteered to be part of our decision making group for World Parkinson’s Day 2023. The 17 volunteers were joined by 3 Parkinson’s UK staff members. 

This group met every 2 weeks, for an hour and a half and we addressed 3 items per meeting. This approach created a pace and environment that was accessible for those living with Parkinson’s. The experience of everyone involved was as important for us as our campaign outputs, if not more so.

For Parkinson’s UK, World Parkinson’s Day is an opportunity to support the community. To raise their voices. To share their experiences of living with Parkinson’s. And to use our resources to back and amplify their ideas.

Light up blue

With support from individuals and businesses, over 150 buildings lit up blue for Parkinson’s in the evening of World Parkinson's Day. Sites that lit up included: Armagh Gaol, the University of St Andrews, Cardiff Castle and the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.

For much of the country, the evening was so wet and windy that it prevented many people from going out to see their local buildings. But for those who braved the elements, we have some dramatic photos and are thankful to every house, building or monument that shone a light on Parkinson's to raise awareness.


Poems for Parkinson’s

Hundreds of poems were shared across social media, on the Parkinson's UK forum, with local groups and communities, and with us. A wide variety of people who have a connection to Parkinson’s, or are living with the condition themselves, shared their stories in this creative, expressive and accessible way.

This year, we were gifted a 10 minute takeover of the famous Piccadilly Lights in London. 10 poems submitted last year were combined with images of those living with Parkinson’s to create a powerful and truly collaborative collage poem. Watch the poem collage on YouTube.

It wasn’t just about the iconic Piccadilly Circus though! We received a generous donation of digital advertising space from Smart Media Group and many other businesses that they inspired to join them. We shared poems on over 2,000 advertising spaces across the UK in the week leading up to World Parkinson’s Day.

This meant that people in shopping centres, town squares, service stations and travelling on major roads saw poems about living with Parkinson’s. Watch what the poems meant to people in Sunderland on YouTube.  

Local community events

Whilst many people lit up blue or wrote a poem, a huge range of other activities were organised by members of the Parkinson’s community. 

Hundreds of our staff and volunteers joined a webinar on World Parkinson’s Day to share plans and poetry with each other. Other activities that took place across the country to mark the day included: information stalls, quizzes, music events, poetry readings, cream teas, hair dying, nail painting, animal dress ups and line dancing.

People have taken ideas that they know will work in their groups and communities and brought people together to raise awareness and also funds. Thank you to everyone that took part and shared what you did with us.

Raising awareness beyond the Parkinson’s community

An important part of World Parkinson’s Day for the volunteer group was to raise awareness of the condition and what it’s like to live with it. A feeling echoed by more than one group member during our meetings was: "For us, it’s World Parkinson’s Day, every day. 11 April is about telling the general population about it."

The group and others living with Parkinson's who work with our media team as storytellers have been busy writing articles, calling radio stations and contacting local and national press to reach as many people as possible.

Here's a summary of what we achieved together:

  • We secured over 350 pieces of media coverage, with over 20 in national outlets, including: MailOnline, Mirror, Independent, TalkSport, Voice of Islam radio, Huffpost, Daily Record, Scottish Sun and Nursing Times.
  • Our ambassadors’ interviews reached huge audiences. Dave Clark's interview ran in over 177 outlets. Anne Twist's interview also ran in 3 Mail On Sunday editions.
  • BBC1 Morning Live ran a feature on World Parkinson's Day, with an average audience of 1.5m daily viewers.
  • Over 32 BBC Regional Radio interviews.
  • 16 Parkinson’s UK storytellers spoke out in the media.

Inspired by World Parkinson's Day?

There are lots of ways you can help us throughout the year. From taking part in research to running a marathon, volunteering to campaigning there’s something for you.