Educating people who have no connection to anyone with Parkinson's is extremely difficult. I've been to several events recently where I was shocked to realise just how little the general public know about Parkinson's. I realise we can't all know about every illness in depth, however Parkinson's is fast becoming a very common disease. Alarmingly it is on the increase and the thought is frightening; it is projected by the year 2030 the number of sufferers is expected to reach 10 million worldwide. The National Parkinson Foundation state that someone in the USA is diagnosed with Parkinson's every 9 minutes. This means that in America alone, 60,000 people are newly diagnosed each year. How they work this out, I'm not too sure, but it makes educating the general public all the more important.
My husband and I were at a luncheon recently, and I overheard one lady say in a hushed voice whilst looking directly at me: "She looks too young to have Parkinson's and I don’t see her shaking." You have no idea how frustrating it is to hear this all too familiar irritating comment, that comes simply from a lack of knowledge. I battle through each day and experience a myriad of debilitating symptoms. You can't imagine how badly I wanted to stand up right then and give all the guests a lecture about Parkinson's; how incredibly young some people are when diagnosed, that shaking is not the begin and end all of Parkinson's, and through much trial and error the right medications can to a degree, stop some of the shaking. Many of the unpleasant symptoms are not visible, yet Parkinson's is a serious degenerative disease. Thankfully my British good manners kept my bottom on the chair and my mouth shut, for I was in someone else's house and it wasn't the time or place to give a talk about Parkinson's, but it did get me to thinking. How do I reach those who need to be educated?If you would like to read about my idea how to reach the people who don't know anything about Parkinson's disease, please spend a moment of your time to take a look at my article this week on The Huffington Post entitled "Educating Rita". You can do your part in helping me educate and spread the word.