Living with Parkinsons is complex and unpredictable, but by using physical activity, positivity, and creativity these challenges can be met head on. ‘I’ve got Parkinsons, but it’s not got me,’ is the title of a new book of original poems by a group of five Sheffield people, all with Parkinsons, ‘parkies,’ who meet at a local exercise class called PD Warrior run privately by Hallamshire Physiotherapy Clinic.
The unique book has been described as moving, inspirational, down to earth, and relatable for people who have the condition and for their carers, family, and friends. The aim of the book is to increase awareness and for those with the condition and their wider groups to share relatable experiences. The book explains how exercise and positivity can slow down the progression of the condition, leading to a better quality of life. In addition, all proceeds from book sales will go to the charity Parkinsons UK. Last but not least, producing the book has helped the group overcome the physical and mental challenges they face.
Parkinsons is a progressive disorder that is caused by the wearing down of dopamine cells in part of the brain which controls movement. This impairs neuro pathways, disturbing brain to muscle coordination and creating rigidity and slowness. Also noticeable is tremor or shaking and a change of facial expression, voice, sleep patterns and a host of non-motor symptoms such as constipation, anxiety, and depression. 147,000 people in the UK currently have this condition, usually from age 55 and over.
Andy B from the group said, “I was diagnosed with Parkinsons 9 years ago and over time have found it increasingly difficult with physical and cognitive tasks. Luckily, I discovered the PD Warrior classes run by Hallamshire Physiotherapy Clinic in Sheffield, PD Warrior is an international programme of neuroactive exercises designed to retrain the brain and slow down the progression of Parkinsons symptoms. Some of us wanted to set out what it is like to live with Parkinsons. The outcome is a book of 21 poems about our experiences, some serious, some with good humour. Getting older and then struck down with this cruel progressive and incurable condition does not mean you might as well give up. This book represents the next stage on our journey to meet the challenges head on.”
Many well-known celebrities have Parkinsons including Billy Connolly, Jeremy Paxman, Rory Cellan-Jones, Ozzy Osbourne, Alan Alda, Neil Diamond, Linda Ronstadt, Michael J. Fox to name a few. Dave Clark, former Sky News Presenter and Ambassador for Parkinsons UK writes in the foreword for this book,” We recognise how vital it is to use the brain more imaginatively as these poems demonstrate. The compositions reveal a ‘never give up’ approach adopted by the poets through their collective humour, pathos, honesty, and ability to share their everyday challenges through this literary art form. Exercise forms a personal journey, but this book of creative poetry will raise funds for research into Parkinsons to go on and help others.”
The PD Warriors who contributed poems to the book include Annie Lloyd Hyde, Andy B, Ann Mac, Roger and Lydia Lawrence.
PD Warrior is a ‘neuro-active’ programme at the Hallamshire Physiotherapy Clinic, designed specifically for anyone with Parkinsons, particularly for those in the early stages of idiopathic Parkinsons who are reasonably fit and active and a motivated individual. There are currently no other facilities in the region offering this successful programme.
Hallamshire Physiotherapy Clinic is Sheffield’s leading specialist physiotherapy clinic where patients are welcomed, assessed, and treated by one of the highly skilled and approachable therapists, each extremely knowledgeable, fully qualified and many who also treat patients at NHS hospitals.
The award-winning clinic formed in 2004 has over twenty specialist therapists, not just treating neurological rehabilitation, but also specialist areas such as balance and vestibular rehabilitation, respiratory treatment, musculoskeletal and sports injury conditions, and many other conditions.
For more information and to order your copy of the book (all proceeds from book sales will go to the charity Parkinsons UK) please visit https://www.hallamshirephysiotherapy.com/parkies-poetry-book/ or call 0114 267 1223.