Changing attitudes to Parkinson's

This Is Wiltshire: Members of the Swindon branch of Parkinson’s UK in Wharf Green with mayor Nick Martin Members of the Swindon branch of Parkinson’s UK in Wharf Green with mayor Nick Martin

MEMBERS of the Swindon and District branch of Parkinson’s UK marked the final day of Parkinson’s Awareness Week by re-enacting common situations that sufferers find themselves in.

Two of the most common symptoms of the degenerative disorder of the central nervous system are a tremor or shaking, and freezing.

Members of the local branch of the activity re-enacted situations where this occurs and other people’s reactions to them, including stares and abuse.

Branch chairman Dave Logan said: “It’s not something I’ve ever experienced so I can’t really comment on that, and the medication helps.

“There are little things, though, that do affect me. Like if somebody I don’t know hands me a drink, I ask them to put it down before I pick it up, and the same if I give a drink to someone, I put it on the table.

“It’s the same with pegging washing on the line – that can be quite difficult.”

The day marked the end of a week of events raising awareness of the condition, following visits and demonstrations at the Central Library.

Dave said: “The week hasn’t been about raising money – it has been about raising awareness of the disease.

“It’s a degenerative condition that affects people in different ways. “Most people think that if you have Parkinson’s it means that you shake a lot but it doesn’t. There are lots of other symptoms as well.

“A lot of people also think it only affects older people, but it doesn’t; it can affect anyone.

“It’s been a really positive week and there has been quite a lot going on.”

During the week Dave also took part in a challenge to swim the equivalent of a Channel crossing in the pool at Blunsdon House Hotel.

He said: “I raised about £1,560 through that, which will go towards a new balance exercise course for people with Parkinson’s in Swindon. It costs about £5,000 in total.

“Exercise is really the only thing that’s been proven to help slow the process down. There’s no cure, but exercise can help.

“I had never done anything like this on my own before. It was quite a challenge.”

To donate toward the exercise classes, visit www.justgiving. com/David-Logan8.

To find out more about the local branch, its work and the help it needs, visit www.parkinsons.org.uk/content/swindon-and-district-branch-events

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