Since June 2008, I have thought and questioned who I am, where I am going and what I really want out of my life. To tell you the truth, I am still undecided on quite a lot of it. However, as far as Parkinson’s disease is concerned, I am determined to make change happen.
It all started with a coffee cup in 2008. I was training for the Marathon Des Sables the following year (2009) and fit as a fiddle. As per usual, the particular morning in question involved the same routine…which was, arrive at work, porridge with honey and black coffee. Except that changed when I went to pick up my coffee cup. My hand, ever so slightly, shook. I watched the tremor and decided that I must be overdoing it (as is typical…ask anyone of my friends).
No matter what I did, each day the tremor in my right hand would return. So finally, I put pride aside and sought help. After being passed from one specialist to another, I was faced with a rather grim diagnosis. I was told that I had Idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. That means “Parkinson’s Disease of unknown origin”.
What’s it like to be told that you have a, presently incurable, chronic, degenerative neurological disease? Well, it certainly knocked me for six! I was angry at first, and then in denial for a long time. It was only when I got to the Sahara, that I got time think and accept that if this is it, then I am going to do my utmost to raise funding to find a cure.
Why? Over 120,000 people have Parkinson’s in the UK, with 10,000 diagnosed each year. There are millions of people with this horrific, debilitating, neurological condition worldwide, and there is currently no cure.
This is a disease that robs the sufferer of the ability to move, imprisoning them in their own body; effectively preventing them from enjoying the things that most take for granted. What’s more, people ignore Parkinson’s as they believe that it only affects the old. The truth is, it affects all; from teenagers to the elderly. I know. I am case in point. I have young onset Parkinson’s.
I am sure that, within my lifetime, we will find a cure, which will change the lives of millions around the world. So while I am able, I am going to run, walk, climb and do anything else to raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease and funds to facilitate research.
My wish to run, walk and anything else (including crawl) to cover the equivalent distance of 10 million meters was achieved by Jamuary 2014. I completed the races listed on the Race page to realise the vital finance towards a cure. However. more is yet to come and I am planning some epic challenges to keep moving but ultimately to raise £1 million for Parkinson’s research.