Understanding Parkinson’s disease

It's 200 years since the James Parkinson, the English surgeon, apothecary, geologist, paleontologist and political activist James Parkinson wrote a ground breaking work called “An Essay on the Shaking Palsy”.

He was the first to describe “paralysis agitans”, or shaking palsy, after reporting on three of his patients and three people he saw in the street. It's a condition that 60 years later would bear his name – Parkinson's disease.

This week has marked two centuries of progress in understanding and treating Parkinson's. But at the same time, the Tauranga Parkinsonism Society is using Parkinson's Awareness Week to send the message that 200 years is too long to wait for a cure.

The Society has been organising a number of activities all with the purpose of raising awareness about Parkinson's. One of the key factors to managing Parkinson's is to keep moving. And so local walking groups are stepping out for a combined 500 kilometres this week – a symbolic number because that's the number of people in the Bay of Plenty region, both individuals and families, affected by Parkinson's disease.

Tomorrow, Friday November 3, the Fraser Cove walking group will leave Fraser Cove at 9am, make their way to Greerton and Gate Pa before returning to Fraser Cove. Everyone's welcome to join the group to walk part or all of the walk.

Also tomorrow, the Welcome Bay Walking Group will take part in this fund raiser They will walk as a group, from the Welcome Bay Hall, using public walkways and the main road in order to raise public awareness. Look out for the groups wearing the red Parkinson's t-shirts, and add your steps to the 500 kilometre target.

There's also a chance to meet the society's community educators who provide information and opportunities to discuss Parkinson's with people with Parkinson's as well as carers and family and whanau.

You can contact these community educators by phoning Glennis on 021 840808, Liz on 021 844566 or Sharyn for the Eastern BOP on 07 2190818.


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Enjoying Tauranga’s waterfront. Photo: Scott K MacLeod.

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