ABOUT YOUNG ONSET PARKINSON’S DISEASE

Everybody has heard of Parkinson’s Disease (PD), but unless you have been directly affected it is unlikely that you will know much about this degenerative neurological condition. You may know that it makes people shake, and you probably think that you must be old to have it.

The reality is that you can be diagnosed with PD at any age. People in their 20s, 30s and 40s have the condition and for them, the impact on their life is much more dramatic. Sadly, there is no support network to help those diagnosed at a young age. This is something that needs to be addressed.

The purpose of the row is to bring about awareness of Parkinson’s in younger people and through the chosen charities, raise much needed funds for them to continue and grow the great work they are doing in this area.

We all find ways of defying our Parkinson’s. I make jokes about it. Robin Buttery has chosen to row across the Indian Ocean.

I can’t help feeling my way is a bit easier. I am full of admiration for Robin, Billy, Barry and James. They are clearly four of the most incredibly courageous, inspirational and determined total lunatics on the planet.

Paul Mayhew-Archer, BBC scriptwriter and author

WHAT IS PARKINSON’S DISEASE?

Parkinson’s is not a diagnosis that you bring on yourself. It’s not because you have eaten the wrong diet, or because you have not exercised enough. It’s not because of the lifestyle
choices that you make, or those that you don’t. You most likely receive a diagnosis of Parkinson’s due to nothing more than a genetic lottery.

Parkinson’s occurs when somebody does not produce enough dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is important for movement. This lack of dopamine can present itself in many ways in a person with Parkinson’s (PWP). It affects each person in different ways, which means that when they receive a diagnosis, the only thing that they can be told is that there is no cure and it’s going to get progressively worse.

Tremors, slowness of movement, rigidity, bladder and bowel problems, eye problems, falls and dizziness, fatigue, freezing, pain, restless legs syndrome, skin and sweating problems, insomnia, speech and communication problems, swallowing problems, anxiety, dementia, depression, hallucinations, delusions and memory problems. Although not every person diagnosed with PD will experience all of these, they are all Parkinson’s symptoms.