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Battling Parkinson’s Disease with Hope

An organisation in Goa provides a support group for those living with Parkinson’s disease.

Ujjwala Mayekar left her job soon after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. At the time, she did not know that with the right help, her body could cope, and that she would remain active.

"Doctors teach us all these exercises and support us like a family. I do the exercise at home. I regret resigning from my job now. I feel like I have healed," she says about the improvement she sees in her physical condition after joining the support group at the Parkinson's Society India’s Goa chapter.

Parkinson’s is a degenerative neurological disorder caused by the destruction of dopamine producing nerve cells in the brain. Its symptoms include tremors, stiffness, speech difficulties and mood disorders. Till date researchers have not narrowed down a single cause for the disease but suggest that it is a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

India has a relatively low occurrence rate of Parkinson’s with about 70 out of 100,000 people being affected by it. One of the biggest challenges remains poor early diagnosis systems, which prevent many people from getting the help they need.

The Parkinson’s Society India is a ‘Registered Charity Society’. Their main objective is to improve care and treatment of people living with Parkinson’s and its spectrum disorders. They also endeavour to disseminate the knowledge and understanding of Parkinson’s amongst the medical community, public, patients and their caregivers. To this end they organise various events throughout India. Video Volunteers documented their efforts through this video in 2017-18. It is part of a series that showcases organisations that are helping the people of Goa in different ways.

"Members of the support group offer each other emotional and practical support. They also renew a sense of hope to help deal with this life-changing disease," says Joanne D'Souza, a physiotherapist with the Parkinson's Society in Goa. The group not only helps those who have been diagnosed with the disease but also acts as a support system for their caregivers.

The Society believes that building such a network of allies which buoys the spirits of those affected by Parkinson’s, is a crucial way to win the fight against the disease. 

Video by Felix Sandri

Article by Kayonaaz Kalyanwala, a member of the VV editorial team

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