THE BLOG

Why We Won't Wait

10/04/2017 09:25 BST | Updated 10/04/2017 09:25 BST
Thomas Tolstrup via Getty Images

200 years ago the pioneering London-based surgeon James Parkinson described for the first time the condition we now know as Parkinson's.

Many things have changed since then; we've gone from the first flight to thousands of planes taking off across the globe daily. We've changed the face of communications - from Alexander Graham Bell prophesizing that one day there would be a telephone in every city to many having access to most of the world's information in a smart phone in their pockets. In the 1980s being diagnosed with HIV was a death sentence; now most HIV positive people with access to appropriate medication are expected to live a normal lifespan. We know so much more than we ever did, and we are building on this knowledge all the time.

However, despite all these advances, after 200 years people with Parkinson's are still waiting for a treatment that can slow down or stop their condition progressing. While some new drugs and treatments have been developed, current medication merely masks symptoms, leaving people with severely limited options. The main drug people with Parkinson's rely on -levodopa - hasn't changed since the 1960s.

On top of this, public awareness of the realities of living with Parkinson's is worryingly low. Despite being an incurable, degenerative condition which can affect anyone, half (49%) of people are unsure, or wrongly say, that it is possible to prevent Parkinson's.

If you were diagnosed with Parkinson's today, there is currently nothing that can stop your condition from getting worse or everyday tasks becoming impossible as your symptoms slowly deteriorate. Yet we've found that three in five (62%) still believe that this isn't the case, and that current treatments can offer so much more.

People with Parkinson's describe the promise of better treatments, and ultimately a cure, as many different things - a hope, a dream, a wish - but also an aim and a goal, something tangible we can work towards together.

But unless we take action now a generation of people with Parkinson's will face an uncertain future knowing that their condition will never improve. That's why Parkinson's UK is committed to doing whatever we can to unlock the promise of research developments that could pave the way to better treatments.

But we can't do this alone. Today we're launching an urgent appeal to raise desperately needed funds to help transform Parkinson's research.

Alongside the global Parkinson's community we've spent the past 50 years gathering evidence to better understand Parkinson's and how it affects people's brains. Armed with our hard-won knowledge, we believe the science is ready and, with enough funding, that together we will find a cure.

Parkinson's is a cruel condition that can leave people struggling to walk, talk and sleep. It takes away a piece of you every single day. Today, we're saying that we won't wait any longer to deliver better treatments and a cure, faster. That's why Parkinson's UK is spearheading, with the expertise of the research community and the support of people with Parkinson's, the revolution needed to take promising treatments out of the lab and into doctors' surgeries.

We're urgently asking people to donate, in our first ever public fundraising campaign, whatever they can to support our vital work. We won't tolerate Parkinson's treatments falling behind.

To find out more about the We Won't Wait campaign visit wewontwait.parkinsons.org.uk