Pedal for Parkinson’s

7 Mar

My boyfriend’s sister, Stephanie, has guest blogged for me, about taking part in a bike ride raising money for Parkinson’s UK

You can sponsor Stephanie on her Just Giving page

Pedal for Parkinson's

On the 10 August I will be riding 60 miles (which is 100Km if I include the ride to the start line and back) in aid of Parkinson’s at the Stirling Pedal for Parkinson’s fund raising ride – I would like to raise awareness and funds for vital research into the disease.

“Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition. People with Parkinson’s don’t have enough of a chemical called dopamine because some nerve cells in their brain have died. Without dopamine people can find that their movements become slower so it takes longer to do things. The loss of nerve cells in the brain causes the symptoms of Parkinson’s to appear. There’s currently no cure for Parkinson’s and we don’t yet know why people get the condition. Parkinson’s doesn’t directly cause people to die, but symptoms do get worse over time.
-Parkinson’s UK”

My mother was diagnosed with the disease a number of years ago, at the time she was working as a fashion designer and had noticed her hand shaking when she was sketching garments. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and since that point has been making adaptions to her life to accommodate for the disease – and my word does this disease ask for compromise!

I grew up in a family where you always had to be doing something, it didn’t matter what, as long as it was something. We walked up Snowdon when I was four, we hiked through Austria when I was ten, we cycled the tour climbs when I was fourteen – and every weekend between those was spent going somewhere and doing something. My dad is a mad cycling fanatic, he always has been, and as such bikes have always had a large influence on our family life – which is why I suppose Pedal for Parkinson’s is particularly poignant.

Pedal For Parkinson's

In between all the hiking, cycling, swimming, athletics, canoeing, cross-country, (…the list is endless) my mother always encouraged me to be creative. As a talented designer and seamstress herself she would incite me to draw, paint, and make. The phrase “I’m bored, I’ve got nothing to do…” would always be met with “well go and make something then”. I would always show my work to my mum for approval, she’s a tough one to please, and would always applaud my work while giving it an honest critical appraisal. She remains both my harshest critic and biggest fan.

I currently run a cycling inspired design brand Stitch-Mi-Lane, it is true what they say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

A number of years after my mothers diagnosis, she was forced to give up her job as a designer – her hand was no longer doing what her head told it to do. She took a job in a school as an Art and Textiles assistant which she was great at. Unfortunately Parkinson’s had other ideas, in 2012 she underwent major surgery to fit a deep brain stimulation device into the center of her head. DBS is a procedure that involves electrodes being inserted to the brain; it is wired to a battery pack that sits under the skin of the chest. The device is intended to work on the premise that a low current is emitted to the brain, which helps signaling in areas where brain function has been impeded by the breakdown of dopamine cells. The procedure is not without its faults, and at present my mum is still getting to grips with the device. The combination of DBS volts and medication are a very tricky mix and no one yet has the right answer for the system. This can some days mean my mother can’t move her legs, and is unable to control the dyskinesia of her arms. Some days are good, but others are bad. I would like there to be more good days.

Pedal For Parkinson's

As a bystander to the disease, I can often feel completely helpless. This is only a small thing, but if it in any way helps to increase awareness and funds needed for Parkinson’s research then that can only be a positive thing. After all, my mum gave me these legs – I might as well use them!

If you would like to contribute to my fund raising cycle ride, then I would be most grateful!


3 Responses to “Pedal for Parkinson’s”

  1. cypruslifeinpictures March 7, 2014 at 5:58 pm #

    Thank you for this Sarah!
    Me and Susan were best friends in senior school and lost contact after we each started full time work. We found each other not too long ago on Facebook and John was a friend of an old boyfriend at one time…. John and Susan met through me and Mike Carnegie. John and Susan came to Cyprus (Paphos) a couple of summers ago – just before he had that awful accident and it was the first I knew Susan had Parkinson’s. It came as a bit of a shock and now my Dad has been diagnosed inside the last 8 months. The changes are fast and furious and it’s very scary as his mother had it from a very early age and we saw some of the miraculous things a change of medication made for her. Sadly, the same is not happening for my Dad who is nearing the age of 80 years.
    A subject close to my heart – so I’ve added a little to the donations on the Just Giving page.
    Michele in Cyprus but originally from sunny Heywood in Lancashire.

    • Sarah Duggers March 7, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

      Thanks so much for your comment Michele – I’m so sorry to hear about your father x

  2. cypruslifeinpictures March 7, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

    Reblogged this on Cyprus Life – in pictures and commented:
    All about my best friend when we were at senior school together in Heywood, Lancashire. We found each other again after more than 30 years of starting out full time work. Me and an old boyfriend brought Susan and her husband, John together – so some good things do happen in life.
    If you’re affected by Parkinson’s disease either personally or through someone who has it, please consider giving a donation – no matter how small.
    My Dad was diagnosed fairly recently and after more than 6 months on medication, we’re seeing no change but a very rapid deterioration.


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