Celebrate World Parkinson’s Day with Maple
Join the Parkinson’s community on April 11th to celebrate World Parkinson’s Day!
We celebrate World Parkinson’s Day each year on the birthday of James Parkinson himself. In 1817, James Parkinson published “An Essay on the Shaking Palsy” accurately and carefully describing his own experience with Parkinson’s disease which at the time, he named shaking palsy.
Parkinsons is a progressive neurological disease that breaks down certain cells in the nervous system which results in the characteristic symptoms. Although there is currently no cure, there is so much we can do to raise awareness around the disease and by celebrating World Parkinson’s Day with us, you can too!
However gradual it sometimes presents, Parkinson’s disease can be a debilitating and frightening illness for those living with it as well as their loved ones. People with Parkinson’s disease deserve to be celebrated, recognised, and advocated for.
How will you be celebrating World Parkinson’s Day?
Why is World Parkinson’s Day Celebrated?
World Parkinson’s Day first started in 1997 through a collaboration between the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Parkinson’s Disease Association (EPDA). Their aim was to bring the global community together to raise awareness surrounding the disease and advocate for research for prevention, treatments, and a cure.
Dr. James Parkinson was an English doctor and scientist who was the first to recognise the disease and write about it in detail while simultaneously experiencing it for himself. He described a pattern of lessened muscular power, involuntary tremulous motion, and the slow progress of the condition. In the 1870s, the French neurologist, Jean Martin Charcot, picked up and continued the work of Dr. Parkinson and subsequently named the disease in honour of him since he was the one who first discovered and characterised it.
Even as early as 1817, Dr. Parkinson was hopeful of finding a cure “…there appears to be sufficient reason for hoping that some remedial process may ere long be discovered, by which, at least, the progress of the disease may be stopped.” Unfortunately, more than two centuries later, we still don’t have a cure for Parkinson’s.
However, the last few decades have seen significant advances in the knowledge and understanding of Parkinson’s disease. People are getting better at managing the complications and are living longer and better than they ever have before after receiving a Parkinson’s diagnosis. In particular, an earlier diagnosis tends to bode well and means the disease can be treated more effectively.
Cutting-edge scientific research is being carried out at hospitals across the globe to learn more about the Parkinson’s disease gene LRRK2 and find a better understanding of how the disease progresses and how it can be slowed. Additionally, clinical trials offer researchers the opportunity to find better ways to detect, manage, and treat diseases such as Parkinson’s.
How to Celebrate World Parkinson’s Day
One of the prominent symbols of Parkinson’s disease is the red tulip. The symbol was identified by J.W.S. Van der Wereld, a Dutch horticulturist, who had Parkinson’s disease himself.
He developed and named this tulip after James Parkinson and described it as follows, “exterior being a glowing cardinal red, small feathered white edge, the outer base whitish; the inside, a currant-red to a turkey-red, broad feathered white edge, anthers pale yellow.”
Dedicating a day to a serious condition on an annual basis gives us the opportunity to shine a light on it and advocate for better understanding.
There are many things you can do and take part in on World Parkinson’s Day:
Talk about it
Talking about Parkinson’s disease plays a huge part in increasing awareness and promoting earlier diagnoses. Bring up the subject with family, friends, or co-workers and share facts that you have learned in your journey. You could also include it in your email signature or share information on your social media.
Share your story
Sharing our stories is one of the best ways to reduce stigma and create a better world of understanding. Although it can make us vulnerable, it can also generate support. You don’t have to do it on World Parkinson’s Day but you may find it a good time to start. If public speaking isn’t for you, you could reach out to a local publication or a reputable blog where you can share your story.
Join events or fundraisers
Celebrate and advocate by joining events or fundraisers. Look for events near you to join or volunteer with or create one yourself. This could simply be a get together for like minded people willing to learn and share stories, or elaborate events aimed at raising money for the cause. Reach out to local mental health associations to find out if they have any events happening.
Support groups can be a great way to connect with others and generate a support network of people who understand what you’re going through. Everyone’s experience will be unique, but it’s important to receive assurance that you are not alone. There is a lot of power in sharing your story and hearing others’ perspectives.
Events for World Parkinson’s Day
Shake It Up
Shake it Up Pause 4 Parkinson’s gives you all kinds of brilliant ideas to raise awareness and raise funds for Parkinson’s and provide all you need to get your event underway, including logos posters, invites, videos, and more:
- Paddleboard 4 Parkinson’s
- Pedal 4 Parkinson’s
- Push ups 4 Parkinson’s
- Pledge 4 Parkinson’s
- Pancakes 4 Parkinson’s
Painting with Parkinson’s
An innovative art therapy program on adhoc days throughout April designed for people with Parkinson’s has been running since 1994 at the Botanic Gardens in Canberra. Sessions may include music, poetry, literary readings, meditation, and gentle exercises to warm up prior to painting. There is no requirement to be proficient in art and all materials are provided.
The Carers Coffee group meets on April 7th 2022 from 2pm until 3.30pm at Yarralumla Gallery and The Oaks Brasserie Cottage in Yarralumla.
Parkinsons Queensland is hosting a Newly Diagnosed Seminar on Saturday 9th April 2022 from 8.30am until 12pm to provide important information for people diagnosed with Parkinson’s within the last three years.
Guys and Games Gathering
“This is a group for men with Parkinson’s. It’s based on the idea of meeting in a casual and relaxed setting where recreational games form a backdrop to simply chatting. The games range from tennis to boules and Finska, from backgammon and boggle to board games, but anything of interest really.” Taking place on April 14th 2022 from 10am until 2pm at Manuka Tennis Club, ACT.
However you choose to advocate for World Parkinson’s Day on Monday 11th April 2022, make sure you are safe, have fun, and wear your red tulip!