A PARKINSON’S disease sufferer is helping to raise awareness of the deadly illness.
In the UK, there are about 120,000 people living with Parkinson’s, a degenerative neurological condition for which there is currently no cure.
Sufferers have been highlighting the illness to mark Parkinson’s Awareness Week, so more people can understand the difficulties they face on a daily basis.
Barry Martin, 56, was diagnosed with the condition when he was 47.
At one stage the former serviceman was taking more than 30 pills a day to keep it under control, but now he is awaiting an operation which could change his life for the better.
Mr Martin, of Hindsons Crescent South, Shiney Row, is preparing to have tiny electrodes inserted into his skull through a procedure known as deep brain stimulation, used only in extreme cases of the debilitating condition.
As reported in the Echo, it is hoped that the operation, which will be carried out at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, will improve his mobility.
“I’ve had Parkinson’s for 10 years now.
“It affects people in different ways, but for me I became depressed.
“I had never had a day’s sickness in my life, but Parkinson’s has no boundaries.
He added that the forthcoming operation will be “a big change” in his life.
Formerly a corporal in the Signals regiment, Mr Martin, married to Margaret, 48, worked as an HGV driver for Asda’s Washington depot.
He developed a twitch in his right arm which led to him being diagnosed.
Mr Martin added that there should be more awareness of the illness, as many people are, in his opinion, unsure how people with the condition are affected by it.
“When I first got Parkinson’s people weren’t really aware about it.”
He added: “Now I do things to promote Parkinson’s awareness because it’s important.”
A defiant Mr Martin also vowed that he will do everything he can to beat the illness.
“I’ve got Parkinson’s, but Parkinson’s hasn’t got me,” he said.