A Craigavon man is helping to raise awareness of Parkinson’s, following research which shows 37 per cent of those diagnosed feel the need to hide their symptoms.
Parkinson’s UK released the results to mark the start of Parkinson’s Awareness Week, raising an alarming level of fear around a diagnosis of Parkinson’s - cutting people off from vital support available at a time when many report struggling emotionally to come to terms with their condition.
Those who did feel the need to hide their symptoms reported not wanting people to feel awkward or embarassed around them (63 per cent), feeling they would be judged (34 per cent), or not feeling like the symptoms were socially acceptable (32 per cent).
There are 127,000 people with Parkinson’s in the UK and 3,600 people in Northern Ireland - with someone being diagnosed with the condition in the UK every hour.
Those who delayed telling family or friends (33 per cent) said it was because of not knowing how to bring it up (36 per cent); not wanting to accept their diagnosis (33 per cent); being unable to find the words (28 per cent); or thinking that they would be stigmatised (21 per cent) or look weak (19 per cent).
Tim Strain, who is 65 and from Craigavon, was working as a team leader at a recyclying plant when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 10 years ago:
“When I was first told I had Parkinson’s, it didn’t really sink in. I came home from the consultants and sat down on the sofa a bit dazed. I told my wife straight away but not many other people, as I didn’t want to worry them.”
Nicola Moore, NI Country Director at Parkinson’s UK, said:
“No one should feel alone in dealing with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s. We are here to help people find the support they need, when they need it.”
For more information, visit www.parkinsons.org.uk