Parkinson’s UK in Parliament. Westminster, London.
© Jess Hurd

Local Member for Parliament, Nick Thomas-Symonds MP, is backing a major charity campaign to shine a spotlight on Parkinson’s, to raise understanding of and change attitudes towards the condition.

Parkinson’s UK Parkinson’s Is campaign, which launches on World Parkinson’s Day (11 April), aims to shatter public misconceptions about the condition by highlighting the reality of everyday life for those living with it and their families.

Parkinson’s is a serious neurological condition with more than 40 symptoms that affects people of all ages. It causes problems in the brain and gets worse over time. Currently there is no cure.

But according to recent research from Parkinson’s UK, 8 in 10 people with Parkinson’s believe that awareness and understanding is low because people don’t consider it to be a serious condition – and only associate it with one symptom – a tremor.

Mr. Thomas-Symonds has been a strong supporter of those with Parkinson’s since his election in 2015. During that campaign, he pledged to raise awareness of Parkinson’s in Parliament. According the Parkinson’s UK, it is estimated that every hour in the UK, two-people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and affects roughly 145,000 people in the UK: that is around one in every 350 people.

Nick has supported numerous campaigns such as the “We won’t wait” campaign in 2017 which advocated for the need to act urgently to improve access to potentially life-changing research developments that could improve both treatments and access to medication, and the “Mental Health Matters Too” report, released in Parliament in May 2018 which revealed a need for greater mental health support for the condition.

Nick has also been elected Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Parkinson’s. To further raise awareness of the issues faced by those with Parkinson’s, to mark 200 years since Dr. James Parkinson’s essay on “the Shaking Palsy”, Mr. Thomas-Symonds secured an adjournment debate in Parliament to address the issues of young-onset Parkinson’s Disease. As he stated in the debate in 2017, “we know about the three principal symptoms-the tremor, the muscle stiffness and the slowness of movement – but unfortunately there is still no cure 200 years later.”

The charity is urging people to visit its website www.parkinsons.org.uk/parkinsons-is to learn more about the condition

Mr. Thomas-Symonds said: “One in 37 of us will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s in our lifetime, and I’m proud to support Parkinson’s UK’s new campaign to challenge widely held misconceptions about the condition.

“I urge people to visit the charity’s website to find out more about how they can get involved in Parkinson’s Is.” 

Steve Ford, Parkinson’s UK Chief Executive, said: “Despite the fact that Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative condition after Alzheimer’s, many people still don’t understand what Parkinson’s is or how it affects people.

“We hope our new Parkinson’s Is campaign which sees people across the UK share how the condition affects their lives will raise awareness and help correct public misconceptions about this much misunderstood condition.

“We’re grateful for Nick’s support to help bring this message to a wider audience and help change the lives of thousands for the better.”

For more information about charity Parkinson’s UK’s new Parkinson’s Is campaign visit www.parkinsons.org.uk/parkinsons-is

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