My father has Parkinson’s disease. It’s one of those things I don’t talk about here, but the short version is this: as a disease, it sucks in a pretty major way. It sucks for the person who has it, and it sucks for the people who care about them. It’s a degenerative disorder of the nervous system that causes a reduction in the dopamine levels, and it causes tremors, slowness of movement, muscle rigidity, instability and has associated affects that are even less fun.
This Sunday my sister is planning on doing the Parkinsons Unity Walk to raise money for Parkinson’s Queensland and she’s currently collecting donations from supporters. If you’re in a position to sling a couple of bucks her way between now and Sunday, please consider doing so. Not just because it’s a good cause – there’s lot of good causes – but because this is a pretty damn personal cause for me, my sister, and my family. Parkinson’s isn’t curable with our current understanding of the brain and the disease. At best, it can be managed. One of the things Parkinson’s Queensland does is help thousands of people across Queensland do just that, working to help parkinsons’ suffers lead productive lives after they’ve been diagnosed. They provide support and advocacy, counselling and information.
This isn’t an easy post to write. For better or worse, this isn’t something I dwell upon in public all that often, and the number of times I’ve written things and deleted them is…considerable. Parkinsons makes me angry, it makes me scared, and it makes me extraordinarily sad that it’s a disease that’s touched my family and the families of far too many people I know. To repeat the sentiment we started with: Parkinson’s sucks, big time, and I’m forever grateful that there are organisations like Parkinsons Queensland who are there to counsel, support and help the people who have it. People who will have it for the rest of their lives, measuring the effects accross a span of years, knowing that it’s never going to get better.
I’ll be scraping together what I can from my paycheque this week to donate, and the only thing I can guarantee is that it won’t be enough. If you’d care to join me in sponsoring Sally on her walk, please do. If you’d prefer to donate to Parkinson’s Queensland directly, that’d rock pretty hard too.