This blog has always been dedicated to raising awareness of heart conditions, but this week we are raising the focus of Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition which means that it causes problems in the brain and worsens over time. There is no cure!
My father had a Parkinsonism condition called progressive supernuclear palsy. It was a beast of a condition which robbed him of his ability to speak, walk and swallow yet even more cruel in the sense that he retained capacity and was aware of everything that he was being subjected to. He died in 2017, 10 years after diagnosis. This year marks the fifth anniversary of his death. Therefore both cardiac conditions and Parkinson’s are close to heart.
As a result, I will be joining Parkinson’s UK in a sponsored “virtual arch to arc” alongside their chair of trustees, Gary Shaughnessy who will be completing a gruelling 83 mile run from London to Dover, a 21 mile row across the Channel and a 186 miles to Paris. Wow! Right?! Those completing the virtual arch to arc will together look to notch up the 300 miles of the triathlon at the same time with individuals contributing to the overall total in any way they can.
I have elected to attempt to cycle 50 miles (in the gym) as part of my mini challenge. However, as maybe ‘pathetic’ as that sounds in the light of the amazing efforts of others and in a world that pushes the bounds constantly in social media, for me it will be a major challenge. My fitness levels have crashed this year having struggled massively with my condition in recent months. Alongside the PoTS which I have written about in my bio, I suffer with atrial fibrillation, a surprisingly common condition whereby the heart ticks out of rhythm and at rates that can sometimes be eye wateringly high. It renders me fatigued and dizzy. However, for AF sufferers, there has been a lot of newsworthy attention on lifestyle modification in recent years encouraging people to maintain an exercise regime, very much the same as we encourage people with Parkinson’s to keep exercising. But when you have a chronic condition of any sort, it’s hard work and takes perseverance.
Walking distance is out for me but using the recumbent bike in the gym should be possible. Therefore the 50 miles in the gym will be carried out in small bite size chunks over a time that allows me to safely complete the challenge. The main outcome though will hopefully be to raise funds for Parkinson’s UK who support patients, like my Dad, to live well with their condition through a dedicated information and support service as well as championing research in a quest to find a cure.
A cure can’t wait! It didn’t come in time for Dad but we are getting closer all the time. However, can you help?
If you would like to sponsor me, please go to https://events.parkinsons.org.uk/fundraisers/ginidellow?fbclid=IwAR0d_H1eun93iyZfe5cVPF0rp0VsF882myLwRjLGa61d43UNRMYF0P0cnPc
Every penny makes a difference.