At random with Martin Laing 04.04.19

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Raising awareness

Here’s a thing: I have Parkinson’s.

Why am I telling you this? Because next Thursday, April 11, McCaig’s Tower in Oban will be illuminated in blue as part of World Parkinson’s Day, an event to raise awareness of the illness.

Now, I’m not trying to elicit sympathy (who could possibly tolerate that?) but I do want to try to spread the message that more research needs to be done.

The director of Parkinson’s UK Scotland is Annie Macleod, an Argyll mum of two with strong connections to the Oban area. Annie was previously the Oban, Lorn and the Isles locality manager for the Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership, and lives with her husband on the Morvern peninsula, north-west of Oban. She has two grown-up daughters.

Annie says: ‘The perception that Parkinson’s is an inevitable part of growing old and is just a bit of shakiness couldn’t be wider off the mark. Parkinson’s can be brutal and has more than 40 recognised symptoms. It affects people of all ages, and typically has a massive impact on every aspect of someone’s life.

‘That’s why, on World Parkinson’s Day, we are launching our biggest ever awareness campaign to highlight just how serious the condition is. We’re delighted that so many places will be showing their support for the Parkinson’s community by lighting in blue. People with Parkinson’s and their families often feel isolated, so it means a lot to the community to know that people care and are aware of the condition.’

There is an active support network in the Oban area, with North Argyll Carers Centre in Albany Street coordinating events, including a self-help group under Morag MacLean, and specialist Parkinson’s nurse Cheryl Howe. If anyone needs advice, contact Morag at morag@northargyllcarers.org.uk

Parkinson’s gets worse the longer people have it, and it is currently incurable. Parkinson’s UK is helping invest in pioneering research in Scotland and around the world to deliver better treatments and a cure.

What do you think?

Write to me at mlaing@obantimes.co.uk or The Oban Times, Crannog Lane, Oban, PA34 4HB, or call 01631 568021.