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Parkinson's UK

Graham Norton makes an appeal on behalf of Parkinson's UK, a charity that provides funds for research and specialised Parkinson's nurses.


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Watching someone you love slowly deteriorate because of a progressive

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neurological condition is something I'm very familiar with.

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My father lived with Parkinson's for many years.

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I can't tell you how difficult it is to accept how a person

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can change so much, through no choice of their own.

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Sadly, my father isn't alone in that situation,

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because every hour, a person in the United Kingdom

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is told that they, too, will face the same fate.

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Three years ago, Sarah Webb

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experienced the joy of becoming a mother for the second time.

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But soon after, she began to notice some worrying changes.

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I was bottle feeding him

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and my mum looked at me and said, "Sarah, why is your hand moving?"

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And I said, "I can't control it."

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I just thought I was over-tired and just said to her, "I must...

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"I need more sleep."

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But the symptoms didn't go away and, aged just 40,

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Sarah was diagnosed with Parkinson's.

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I think it was the biggest shock of my life.

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After being diagnosed, all I could think about was my children.

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And it still upsets me now.

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I was just crying for them.

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And their reactions,

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and how they're going to grow up with someone who's got Parkinson's.

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Sarah tried her best to carry on as if nothing had changed.

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When I go to the school run,

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I didn't tell any of the mums there at all.

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But sometimes I noticed people look down at my hand

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and think, "Oh, what's wrong with Sarah?"

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But I just thought, "Oh, they won't notice, I'll be fine."

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Before long, it became impossible to ignore her Parkinson's.

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The symptoms started

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on the left side in my arm.

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I would get a tremor and then I was in pain

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and I was aching.

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But what I am so, so determined to do is wake up

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with a smile on my face...

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so my kids...

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..don't know mummy is sick.

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Learning that you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson's

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can be an extremely distressing time for all concerned.

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That's why I'm appealing to you on behalf of Parkinson's UK -

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a charity that funds much-needed research

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and delivers information, support and specialised nursing care

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to people living with this debilitating condition.

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Before his diagnosis, 77-year-old Peter Baker

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worked as a travelling salesman

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I would be calling on buyers in china, glass and gift shops.

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And you had to make as many calls as you possibly could

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during the day to make your money.

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The demanding job required him to be constantly on the move,

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but then he noticed the telltale signs of Parkinson's.

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Well, I was dragging my feet, definitely, and had the shakes.

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And I got tired very easily.

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Peter was forced to give up the job he loved.

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Moving in to retirement should feel liberating, but for Peter

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and his wife, the coming years suddenly looked very different.

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Our lives were going to be based around bird-watching,

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walking and visiting stately homes.

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We had it all mapped out, really.

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But, of course, that had to eventually go by the board.

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And, yes, if I'm honest, there are tears occasionally,

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because I feel everything has got out of control.

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It's not a pleasant life when it gets to a certain stage.

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And, of course, it's going to get more difficult, as well,

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which is not a nice thought.

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Parkinson's UK ensure that people living with the condition,

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and those around them, are given the best possible care.

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They provide much-needed specialised nurses,

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who have assisted tens of thousands of people

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to manage their condition more effectively.

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Typically, somebody affected by Parkinson's

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might see their medical specialist a couple of times in a year,

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but clearly they will need support

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in managing the wide range of symptoms

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that can affect every aspect of everyday life.

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Unfortunately, there aren't enough specialist nurses in the NHS

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to cover the huge caseload of patients, but Parkinson's UK

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have provided funding for 350 specialist nurses

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around the country.

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Having somebody to support with things like pain,

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difficulty sleeping,

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constipation, etc, that have a real impact on people's quality of life

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is absolutely crucial,

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and that's why we've been really pushing

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to get Parkinson's nurses right across the UK

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so that nobody has to face Parkinson's alone.

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What those living with the condition really appreciate

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is that a Parkinson's nurse becomes a familiar face.

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That familiarity is crucial

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when it comes to spotting the signs of how the condition is progressing,

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and therefore what new help or medication needs to be given.

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Parkinson's nurse Pete Smith

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has been visiting Peter for three years now,

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and has built up a vital relationship that means

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that changes in his symptoms can be spotted quickly.

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-Hello, sir.

-Morning, Pete. How are you?

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-Not bad, thank you.

-Nice to see you.

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Good to see you again. I wondered if we could look at your walking.

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He'll quite often spot things

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that I haven't, sort of thing, you know.

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He'll pick things up in my manner or the way I move.

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Pete's skill in noticing changes in Peter's condition

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and acting quickly has improved his quality of life hugely.

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A neurologist working on his own

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couldn't possibly cover the ground as often as Pete does.

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It has been an absolute joy to be able to give him a ring

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and he's written direct to my doctor and said, "If Mr Baker feels

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"he needs to take this extra tablet

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"at such and such a time during the day, then it's OK with us."

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And it's saved a lot of time and brought a lot of relief to everybody.

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I think we are very, very lucky to have him.

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Sarah decided she wasn't able to cope with her condition alone

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and turned to a Parkinson's nurse for help.

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She was the first person that I had met in the medical profession

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that actually understood what I was going through.

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And when she said to me "How are you?" I knew she meant it

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and I knew that she wanted to hear how I was.

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And would listen.

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Armed with a new outlook on her condition,

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Sarah now sees her Parkinson's nurse regularly

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and can call on her any time she has concerns.

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They have all the knowledge

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and all the information that we need. So, for example,

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if I needed to go and see a physio or a speech therapist

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then she would know who to send me to, and just having someone

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that you completely trust, who you know is on your side,

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who's there 24 hours a day, seven days a week if I needed to,

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is just amazing.

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It's just such a relief, because it just takes so much pressure off you.

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Knowing her nurse was always there gave Sarah the strength to carry on.

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When life gets tough you get stronger, don't you, really?

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And I feel like that with my family, definitely -

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it's brought us all closer together.

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And we're all fighting it together.

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With our ageing population, it's estimated that by 2020

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the number of people with Parkinson's

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will rise by almost a third.

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And, at the moment, almost half the people with the condition

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haven't seen a specialist nurse in the last 12 months.

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There are about 17,500 people living with Parkinson's

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across the UK without any access to a specialist nurse.

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To put this right, we desperately need a minimum of 50 additional

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Parkinson's nurses to deliver the most basic standards of care

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to those living with this debilitating condition.

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And you can make that happen.

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Please go to the website...

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..where you can donate.

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If you don't have access to the internet, then call...

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And, if you can't get through, please keep trying.

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You can also donate £10 simply by texting...

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Texts cost £10 plus your standard network message charge

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and the whole £10 goes to Parkinson's UK.

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Full terms and conditions can be found at bbc.co.uk/lifeline.

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Telephone calls are free from most landlines.

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Some networks and mobile operators will charge for these calls.

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Or if you'd like to post a donation, please make your cheque payable

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to Parkinson's UK and send it to Freepost, BBC Lifeline Appeal,

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writing "Parkinson's UK" on the back of the envelope.

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And if you want the charity to claim Gift Aid on your donation,

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please include an email or postal address

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so that they can send you a Gift Aid form.

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Thank you.

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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TV presenter Graham Norton makes this touching appeal on behalf of Parkinson's UK, a charity that provides funds for research and specialised Parkinson's nurses who are able to assist people with managing their condition more effectively.

The film features Sarah, a 42 year-old mum of two who was diagnosed with Parkinson's only a couple of years ago. Sarah shares her experiences of living with the condition as a mother to two young boys, how Parkinson's UK helped her to change her attitude towards her condition and how much she relies on her Parkinson's nurse to cope with her symptoms.