One million signatures needed to fight Parkinson’s disease

Posted on: 11 October 2010 by Editor at Large

Jane Asher, President of Parkinson’s UK, is spearheading the appeal for people to sign up to the global Parkinson’s pledge.

People signing up to the pledge will be joining a worldwide movement to help make Parkinson’s disease a health, social and economic priority and to work together to find a cure.

Jane Asher, whose brother-in-law has Parkinson’s, said: “We are calling on people from all walks of life, all over the world to sign up to this pledge and look towards a future without Parkinson’s.

“I first learnt about Parkinson’s as a child, from my doctor father, who was clearly distressed by the effects it had on his patients. But it wasn’t until someone close to me was diagnosed that I saw for myself the irrevocable and cruel physical and mental symptoms that Parkinson’s involves."

There are around 7.4 million people in the world with Parkinson's, a degenerative condition for which there is no cure. Services vary from country to country. In the UK, one in four people with Parkinson’s has never seen a specialist nurse. In Australia, there is one Parkinson’s nurse per 10 patients.

In the UK, a third of people living with Parkinson’s have not been referred for mental health support, despite about 30 per cent having dementia and around 40 per cent experiencing depression. In Australia, nearly all patients have access to a mental health support.

The issues behind these statistics will be one of the topics discussed at the World Parkinson Congress, a four day event which sees thousands of researchers, scientists, carers and people living with Parkinson’s come together to learn about the latest developments in Parkinson’s and the work towards finding a cure.

Elizabeth Pollard, Congress Manager at the World Parkinson Congress, said: “Our target is to gather one million people to join the global Parkinson’s movement by the next World Parkinson Congress in 2013 in Montreal, Canada. We will present them to the World Health Organisation and other international bodies. Your signature will help us to drive our mission forwards.”

Steve Ford, Chief Executive at Parkinson’s UK, said: “It’s easy to get involved and make a real difference to the lives of people with Parkinson’s. You can sign the global Parkinson’s pledge and join the Parkinson’s movement. You can find out more about the condition via your local Parkinson’s charity, like Parkinson’s UK. Or you can make a donation to help us find a cure for Parkinson’s.”

To learn more about the pledge click here.

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