23 powerful quotes about Parkinson’s disease


Author: Sarah McGrathPublished: 6 April 2023

Parkinson's LifePrep: Parkinson's LifeCook: Parkinson's LifeServes:

Guy Deacon, former colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps in the British Army.

Ahead of World Parkinson’s Day 2023, we look back at the compelling thoughts that interviewees have shared in recent years about their experiences with the condition

1. “We need more awareness to break the myths and stereotypes around the condition… It can impact anyone, regardless of age or ethnicity.”

It took a decade for Manon Day to receive her Parkinson’s diagnosis. She explained why better understanding was needed around who the condition affects.

Read Manon’s story.

2. “Parkinson’s can be the wake-up call to transform yourself into a better person.”

Sharing his perspective on the link between Parkinson’s and identity, US-based motivational speaker John Baumann explained how the diagnosis has influenced what he values most in life.

Read John’s story.

3. “No matter what science can do for people living with Parkinson’s, we must prepare our brain and body to face all difficulties.”

Nikolas Koukoulakis told us how he has indulged in his love of powerlifting by coaching a team of people living with the condition in Greece – and why he encourages others to stay active.

Read Nikolas’s story.

Nikolas Koukoulakis.

Nikolas Koukoulakis.

4. “I don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. I try to live for today, and Parkinson’s hasn’t changed that.”

Actor Valerie Perrine opened up about her career in Hollywood, adjusting to life with the condition – and the response to Stacey Souther’s recent documentary about her experiences.

Read Valerie’s story.

5. “After I was diagnosed, I went on a rollercoaster of emotions, from the initial shock, to disbelief, despair, sadness, anger and resignation, until I finally became more resilient and positive.”

New Zealand-based author Robyn Cotton explained how, after accepting her diagnosis, she was inspired to write a second novel to raise awareness of the condition.

Read Robyn’s story.

6. “Many people know what Parkinson’s looks like… but not the mental anguish it can cause, and the darkest moments we go through.”

Guy Deacon (pictured in lead image), former colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps in the British Army, told us about travelling across Africa to help raise awareness of the condition.

Read Guy’s story.

7. “Young onset is not a death sentence. Yes, some days are going to suck, but you can live your life. It takes some adapting and hard work.”

Samantha Felder was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 21. In a joint interview feature with her father, the pair explored how the condition has impacted their relationship.

Read Samantha’s story.

Samantha Felder.

Samantha Felder.

8. “While I wouldn’t wish a Parkinson’s diagnosis on anyone, it has brought with it gifts that I’m truly grateful for.”

Author and blogger Jo Yaldren, who spent a year saying “yes” to new experiences, reflected on the memories and skills gained during this time – and why she encourages others to “live your life right now”.

Read Jo’s story.

9. “Stories can connect with people in a way that facts and scientific reports can’t.”

Christine Jeyachandran, a Parkinson’s blogger and filmmaker based in Peru, discussed how her own diagnosis inspired her to make a short documentary about the condition.

Read Christine’s story.

10. “I still find myself hiding my symptoms, not only from other people, but from myself… Nobody sees the struggles that we go through.” 

Bill Bucklew, who undertook a fundraising walk with his friend, John MacPhee, highlighted the importance of raising awareness around how the condition impacts people day-to-day.

Read Bill and John’s story.

11. “If women can be equipped early with the information on how Parkinson’s will impact them as women, they’ll be in a much better position to manage it.”

In a #WomenAndParkinsons feature, advocate and blogger Omotola Thomas shed light on some of the unique challenges faced by women living with the condition.

Read Omotola’s story.

Omotola Thomas.

Omotola Thomas.

12. “I know that I can have a fulfilling, exciting life with Parkinson’s. Today, I think that Parkinson’s and I belong together, and that’s okay.” 

Switzerland-based Urs Bratschi told us about his fascinating journey with pasta art, which he explained might only have been possible because of his condition.

Read Urs’s story.

13. “I resisted becoming part of a Parkinson’s group, but I found that when I finally connected with some people with the condition, they were inspiring, supportive and helpful.” 

Former teacher Leslie Davidson, whose Parkinson’s diagnosis came at the same time that her late husband was diagnosed with another neurological condition, highlighted the importance of finding community.

Read Leslie’s story.

14. “Just as people are becoming more open to talking about mental health, I think being more open to talking about Parkinson’s is a good thing. There is no shame attached to it.”

Former BBC political correspondent and journalist Mark Mardell highlighted the importance of being “open and honest” about the condition.

Read Mark’s story.

15. “I tell everyone: ‘I am not my disease. I am a person with Parkinson’s, and I aim to live life fully.’ For me, it’s all about giving back. How can I leave the world a shade more beautiful?”

Canada-based Barbara Salsberg Mathews discussed why she’s passionate about bringing the art of mime – along with plenty of laughter – to others living with the condition.

Read Barbara’s story. 

Retired teacher and artist Barbara Salsberg Mathews.

Barbara Salsberg Mathews. Image credit: Carrie Branovan.

16. “Find a way to make art, even if you have to change techniques or mediums. Get over the ‘mad at the world’ phase and put that emotion into your art.” 

We explored how creative pursuits helped artist Debra Magid to process her diagnosis – and inspired her to collaborate on projects with her son.

Read Debra’s story.

17. “Before, when I was asked about my condition, I would go into defence mode. But now I’m comfortable saying: ‘I have Parkinson’s – and this is what it looks like.’”

As part of our #WomenandParkinsons campaign, Canada-based Caitlin Nagy shared how a boudoir photoshoot helped boost her self-esteem and confidence.

Read Caitlin’s story.

18. “We haven’t conquered Parkinson’s – but we conquered the fear of Parkinson’s.”

Rock musician Nenad Bach highlighted how ping-pong not only helped him to manage his Parkinson’s symptoms, but also inspired him to set up a non-profit dedicated to the sport.

Read Nenad’s story.

19. “Creating images became playful and rewarding and sometimes emotional as I tried to picture things relating to my fears.”

Torrance York, a photographer based in the US, explained how she used her camera to capture her thoughts and emotions around Parkinson’s.

Read Torrance’s story.

20. “An opportunity for an abundant life while living with Parkinson’s fuels me to continue advocating and speaking for those who are no longer able to do so.”

Dr Maria De León, a neurologist living with Parkinson’s, contributed her voice to a piece focused on the importance of campaigning for the community.

Read Maria’s, Sabela’s and Massimiliano’s stories.

21. “I didn’t want to feel sorry for myself. I just wanted to be the liveliest dude with Parkinson’s in the world.”

Walter J Archey III, a US filmmaker and rapper who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2015, shared how living with the condition has impacted his music and perspective on life.

Read Walter’s story.

Walter J Archey III.

Walter J Archey III. Image credit: Marcellus Suber.

22. “Even though I’m definitely not the only older woman going through [Parkinson’s], it sometimes feels that way because I can’t find anyone describing it.”

Former nurse Pam Archer opened up about her experiences living with the condition in her 70s, and why “older women aren’t just variants of men”.

Read Pam’s story.

23.Find activities that do you good. There’s no point spending time doing something you don’t enjoy.”

Janette Sinclair, who was diagnosed with the condition in 2013, told us how boxing classes led by activity centre Action Parkinson are helping to support members of the community in Belgium.

Read Janette’s story.

Lead image: supplied by Guy Deacon.

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