Parkinson’s Awareness Month 2017: global celebrations

Global update

Author: Joe McAweaneyPublished: 4 May 2017

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Budapest Balloons

From balloons in Budapest to running in Nepal, Parkinson’s Awareness Month was marked in a variety of different ways across the world. Here are some of the highlights

In April, the world came together to recognise Parkinson’s Awareness Month, an annual event dedicated to raising awareness about the condition. There was a great deal of activity from Budapest to Brazil, including plays, dance classes and musical performances.

Double donations

US-based Light of Day Foundation, an organisation dedicated to utilising the power of music to raise Parkinson’s awareness, announced it they would match all donations made to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation up to $100,000. The campaign – which ran throughout Parkinson’s Awareness Month – was a great success, raising a total of $106,722.25.

The Cure Parkinson’s Trust announce new Parkinson’s Programme

In the UK, the Cure Parkinson’s trust announced the ‘Global Linked Clinical Trial Programme’, an initiative that will bring together some of the world’s leading Parkinson’s researchers.

The programme, which currently has six medical trials underway, is aimed at speeding up the development of new medication by focusing on drugs that are already approved for other conditions.

Tom Isaacs, founder of the The Cure Parkinson’s Trust, said that the initiative is, “one of the most exciting and innovative programmes I have been involved with. Nothing like this exists anywhere else, nothing else has the potential to deliver treatments with the capacity to slow, stop or even reverse Parkinson’s in such a short space of time.”

Running in Kathmandu

Parkinson’s Support Nepal held a 5km ‘Run for Parkinson’s’ event, which took place in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu on 1 April.

Around 35 runners participated in the fundraiser, which received sponsorship from the Nepalese Everest National Bank. All money raised went towards further Parkinson’s Awareness Month activities in Nepal.

5km challenge competitors stopped for a quick snap

Challenging perceptions in Ethiopia

Parkinson Patients Support Organisation-Ethiopia hosted a Unity Walk in the nation’s capital, Addis Ababa. About 250 Parkinson’s campaigners attended the event, which aimed to end the stigma surrounding Parkinson’s within the East African country.

The walk, led by Parkinson Patients Support Organisation-Ethiopia

Performances in China

In Hangzhou, China, 100 campaigners attended a two-day event to recognise World Parkinson’s Day.

Guests attended lectures throughout the day before enjoying a stage show, musical performance and a special dinner.

Campaigners enjoying their day in Hangzhou, China

Balloons in Budapest

On World Parkinson’s Day (11 April), the DELTA Hungarian Parkinson’s Association, along with other Parkinson’s organisations in the country, attended talks at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest. Expert speakers, including leading scientists, discussed the key issues facing the Parkinson’s community.

Afterwards, attendees congregated outside St Stephen’s Basilica and released balloons with #UniteForParkinsons printed across them.

The guests also lined up in the square to create a ‘200’ formation to highlight 200 years since the condition’s discovery.

Campaigners gather outside St. Stephen’s Basilica


Birds-eye view of the ‘200’ formation


To coincide with World Parkinson’s Day, Parkinson’s UK launched ‘We Won’t Wait’, an initiative highlighting the lack of progress since the condition was discovered 200 years ago. The campaign followed on from the charity’s international awareness raising campaign, #uniteforparkinsons.

Grooving in Bahia

In Bahia, Brazil, the Movement Disorders and Parkinson’s Disease Clinic hosted a dance class to help those living with Parkinson’s develop their balance and mobility.

The class was led by Lorena Santos and was attended by a combination of those with Parkinson’s, carers and family members. The Health Secretary for the state of Bahia also visited the clinic to show support.

Dance class in Bahia, Brazil

A royal occasion

This year Kuwait officially recognised World Parkinson’s Day for the second year running. It was a high profile event which received national coverage due to the involvement of Princess Sheikha Anesa Al Sabah of the Kuwaiti royal family.

The day revolved around a series of lectures focusing on physiotherapy, swallowing problems and other key Parkinson’s issues.

Campaigners in Kuwait

Play for Parkinson’s

To commemorate 200 years since the discovery of Parkinson, Despina Anastasiadis wrote a short play for an event in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Entitled ‘Without Her’, the play, which lasts around 20 minutes, portrays a human heart who is mourning the disappearance of his favourite hormone, dopamine.

The piece uses light hearted conversations to educate the audience, and guide them through the Parkinson’s diagnoses experience.

Despite being written in Greek the play has been translated into English, Polish and Turkish to make it more accessible.

Parkinson’s play ‘Without Her’

Read more: Get involved, upcoming Parkinson’s events

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