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'It's called World Parkinson's Day, but we're raising awareness for the whole of April'





Parkinality columnist Julie Walker, of Bishop's Stortford, writes not about parking, but about living with Parkinson's disease in her 50s

Honesty is always my policy. I thought I was being organised and had put aside enough time to put together this column, only to realise that, due to Easter, the deadline for next week is this week (as clear as). So here goes with a speedily-written column.

In my defence, multi-tasking is extremely difficult for people with Parkinson's disease (PD). The PD brain has enough trouble trying to remember how to put one foot in front of the other, so to ask me to also organise events for World Parkinson's Day (WPD) is, understandably, a step too far.

Every morning, checking my diary is becoming more and more of a challenge. Contrary to rumours, the brain operation has not made me into an android. Despite this, I have been accused of being a robot by many online tests and have been locked out of several of my accounts. This is because I have not been speedy enough to identify how many avocados there are in the grainy photos, nor have I been able to input the swirling letters and numbers fast enough before getting timed out.

It has been a busy couple of weeks organising things for WPD, which was yesterday (Tuesday April 11). As I have mentioned before, I am on the committee for Parkinson's UK, helping the charity come up with, and instigate, ideas for WPD 2023. You will have read in my last column about the plans for writing poetry and lighting up the country blue.

Parkinson's UK asked for short poems to be used to promote WPD and (brief fanfare) I have had one of my poems accepted. It is one of the printable poems which you can print off to promote WPD. It is also 'going national' and will appear on over 2,000 billboards throughout the UK.

Poems have been displayed on billboards for World Parkinson's Day (63406935)
Poems have been displayed on billboards for World Parkinson's Day (63406935)

I have also put my name forward to be part of the media team. So if you hear my dulcet tones on the radio, your ears are not deceiving you. Likewise if you see one of my poems on a moving advertising hoarding, your eyes are not playing tricks on you.

At the time of writing I am currently making the final preparations for the quiz night on April 6 at the Wheatsheaf in Bishop's Stortford. I say 'final preparations', I am merely organising the raffle. Thank you to the Coach and Horses at Spellbrook for donating two meal vouchers and also to those at the support group who have donated prizes. A panicked message to Michelle at the Wheatsheaf confirmed that I am not expected to write the quiz, which is a relief to me and should be to the other quizzers.

WPD is a team effort and a few name checks are in order. Thank you to the Wise-ish Man for his unwavering support. Thank you to the team at Parkinson's UK, staff and volunteers. Thank you also to Claire for organising the fitness programme at Grange Paddocks. We are now spoiled for choice, with everything from swimming, boxing, bowling and table tennis to name but a few. Thank you also to Colin for spreading the word about lighting up blue for WPD. Also, thank you to the local support group for its continued support.

By the time you read this column in the Indie, the day after WPD, we will, hopefully, have had the quiz night at the Wheatsheaf, decorated the window of the Indie, lit up the world blue and be several pounds heavier. I write 'hopefully' because regular readers will understand that PD is unpredictable and unreliable, which in turn makes me unpredictable and unreliable. And I write 'heavier' because it was Easter Sunday, aka WCD (world chocolate day), a couple of days before WPD.

I have been writing about World Parkinson's Day, but we are spreading awareness for the whole month. Every year I hope this will be the last need for WPD and that the next year PD will be obliterated from the world, never to return again. I can then spend the whole of April focusing on one of my new PD-free hobbies, such as eating spaghetti without making a mess and skipping around the shops.

Fingers crossed.



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