Local MP Sir Mike Penning this week joined charity Parkinson’s UK to mark 200 years since Parkinson’s was first recognised as a condition.
At the parliamentary reception in Westminster on Tuesday 5 December, Sir Mike met with representatives from the charity and people affected by Parkinson’s to hear about the charity’s ambition to bring forward the day when no one fears Parkinson’s.
Sir Mike talked to staff and volunteers about the strides that have been made in understanding the condition since James Parkinson’s Essay on the Shaking Palsy in 1817, but also the work that is still to be done as there is no cure for Parkinson’s and current medication can’t stop the condition from progressing.
Parkinson’s UK highlighted the issues faced by people with Parkinson’s, including the urgent need to include Parkinson’s in dementia research as Dementia and mild cognitive impairment have a devastating impact on people with Parkinson’s and their families.
Parkinson’s affects one in 500 people in Hemel Hempstead, and can cause a myriad of symptoms including insomnia, depression, and hallucinations, robbing people of their independence. But through more research, improved services, and empowering people with Parkinson’s to take control, their lives can be turned around.
Sir Mike also met crime writer Jessica Mann who spoke at the event about her own Parkinson’s diagnosis and the need for better mental health services for people living with the condition.
Parkinson’s UK wants to see quality services as standard for the 127,000 people like Jessica with Parkinson’s in the UK. They also want people with Parkinson’s to feel empowered to take control of their lives, and to take part in clinical trials in their local area to help find better treatments and a cure in years not decades.
Speaking after attending the event, Sir Mike said:
“Parkinson’s is something I care very much about and I have first-hand family experience. Parkinson’s research is a fundamental part of the solution to the challenges facing the country with regard to dementia.
“I look forward to working with the charity to ensure that people affected by these issues in Dacorum can feel confident that we are doing everything we can to drive forward research and improve lives.”
Parkinson’s UK Chief Executive Steve Ford said:
“With 2017 marking such a significant anniversary for us, we wanted to reflect on what we have achieved and what we have yet to do in order to improve the lives of everybody affected by Parkinson’s, but we can’t do this alone.
“That’s why it’s brilliant Sir Mike has pledged to help us drive forward vital research.
“We look forward to seeing the difference Sir Mike can make in Hemel Hempstead, and how he can help us to keep Parkinson’s on the political agenda.”
For advice, information and support, visit www.parkinsons.org.uk or call our free, confidential helpline on 0808 800 0303.