Letters, Monday, April 20, 2015

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Pledge to make a difference

MY brother-in-law was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about 15 years ago, and was my original inspiration for joining Parkinson’s UK.

 I have supported and worked with them ever since, and over the years have seen at first hand the pain and struggles that living with this devastating condition can entail.

 Today is the start of Parkinson’s Awareness Week – and a new survey from Parkinson’s UK has revealed that an estimated 69,000 people in the UK with Parkinson’s have experienced hostility and rudeness from members of the public.

 It’s unbearable to think of the suffering this can cause – it’s bad enough, for example, having a long-term, incurable condition which can cause you to slur your speech and be unsteady on your feet, without being mistaken by a member of the public of being drunk.

 I was shocked by the enormous number of people with Parkinson’s who regularly come up against public misunderstanding and unintentional cruelty – a third of people in our survey have been stared at, a quarter had their symptoms mistaken for drunkenness, and one in 10 have been laughed at because of their symptoms.

 This hostility can have a profound effect on people with Parkinson’s, increasing their depression and anxiety, and leaving some people too frightened to leave their homes.

 To combat this, we are urging people to become friendlier by pledging to do small acts of kindness such as smiling and being more patient.

 In particular, we ask people not to make assumptions or jump to conclusions that can make an enormous difference to all of us – especially people with Parkinson’s.

 I do hope people will join me in pledging to make a difference.

 For more information on Parkinson’s Awareness Week, visit upyourfriendly.com

Jane Asher,

President,

Parkinson’s UK

Life is too precious to live reckelessly

THE calendar on my desk has a motivational quote or comment for every day.

 Today is says “pain is temporary; quitting is forever”.

 How stupid.

 Only an idiot would carry on doing something if it was causing them pain.

 Pain is the body’s way of telling you something is wrong, and if you carry on you might do yourself serious and permanent damage.

 Another stupid motivational quote is the one that says “live every day as if it’s your last”.

 My mother died of cancer and spent her last day in terrible pain, not knowing where she was or who her family members were.

 Who’d want to live every day like that?

 Then there’s Yolo, or You Only Live Once.

 Most people use this as an excuse to do dangerous things like skydiving or bungee jumping.

 Well, it’s true, you do only like once, so you shouldn’t risk what precious life you have doing reckless stunts.

 Spend even a second thinking about these motivational quotes you’ll see that most of them crumble into dust.

 They might look good on a poster, but anyone living their life by them is just asking for trouble.

Colin Clifford,

Whitburn

Let’s celebrate St George’s day

WOULD it be at all possible for the pubs, mainly those in Sunderland City Centre, who laid on parties and special deals for St Patrick’s Day (patron saint of a country, half of which is alien to us) to do the same for StGeorge’s Day, on April 23?

John Potts