Sunderland couple's joint battle with Parkinson's disease is turned into a film
The story of a couple’s battle against Parkinson’s disease has been turned into a film.
Russ Bradford and Charlotte Allen, who live near Houghton, met while receiving support for the brain illness and later co-founded an organisation to help fellow sufferers.
This led to interest from film companies and now Stages, a short movie about their joint ordeal, will be premiered to around 200 industry figures in London on Friday, October 18.
Among its stars are former Minder television actor Gary Webster, who starred opposite George Cole in the hit ITV series, and former EastEnders actress Noeleen Comiskey, who played Latvian character Marta Shirovs in the BBC soap opera.
Ms Allen, 53, who runs a recruitment agency and has battled Parkinson’s for 16 years, said: “We hope it will increase people’s awareness of Parkinson’s and demonstrate that good can come out of bad.”
Father-of-two Mr Bradford, 47, who was diagnosed with the brain illness around eight years ago, added: “It will be watched by scouts from the television and film world to see if it can be turned into a full-length film or programme.”
Stages recreates how Miss Allen was diagnosed with Parkinson’s only a year after she was left a single mother following the suicide of her husband (played by Webster).
Made by Gripping Yarns Films, it also depicts the breakdown of Mr Bradford’s marriage following his own diagnosis and charts his struggles with his mental health as he is forced to wind up his successful hot tub, underfloor heating and property maintenance businesses.
Mother-of-one Ms Allen, who is played by Comiskey, adds: “It covers mental health, Parkinson’s and suicide and because the actors believe in it so much they have given their time for free.”
Mr Bradford is currently involved in a dispute with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) after he was “bullied” into attending an assessment just a week after undergoing brain surgery to ease his illness.
Ms Allen said: “The film does not even cover Russ’s battle with the DWP. That would be a whole film in itself.”
Their organisation, Parkinson’s Concierge, which raises money on behalf of Parkinson’s charities and allows patients to exchange information, can be contacted via www.parkinsonsconcierge.com.