NASSAU, BAHAMAS- As cancer, diabetes and HIV/ AIDS are diseases that are prevalent in The Bahamas, very few are knowledgeable about Parkinson’s.
However, chairperson of the Kingdor National Parkinson’s Foundation, Mavis Darling- Hill, is hoping to bring a greater awareness to the disease, especially during the month of April, which has been dubbed, ‘Parkinson’s Awareness Month’.
According to Darling-Hill, her goal for the entire month of April is to educate Bahamians about the signs of Parkinson’s.
“The first telltale sign is the tremor, and 87% of persons who are diagnosed have this as their first symptom. After this there comes the slowness of movement and then postural instability…and I call it disability,” Darling-Hill explained.
Darling-Hill said that Parkinson’s really disables victims from functioning the way they should, and it impacts the entire human being.
Vice Chairman of the Kingdor National Parkinson’s Foundation, Rochielle Bevans told Eyewitness News that he would like to provide more comfort and the necessary items, like wheelchairs and canes, to “parkinsonians”.
“Moving forward, our group has become more committed to providing more tangibles for parkinsonians, but of course our challenge is trying to find out who is stricken with Parkinson’s,” Bevans said.
He also noted that Parkinson’s is a “closet disease” and most persons are afraid to come out, but he promised to further educate, sensitize and inform the public about Parkinson’s.
“We do host workshops every year to assist caregivers of persons stricken with Parkinson’s disease. We host a fun run walk and even speech competitions that help to sensitize the public at all ages,” said Bevans.
According to “Parkinson’s News Today” most people know of Parkinson’s disease and have a good idea of its symptoms, but very few know much more than that about this progressive illness.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease whereby cells responsible for producing dopamine die off in the ‘substantia nigra’ area of the brain.
Dopamine is essential for movement as it acts as a transmitter for signals from the brain to other parts of the body.
“A lot of people that feel like Parkinson’s disease is a closet disease, but it is a family disease, a friend disease,” Darling-Hill said.