What is it?
As part of the charity’s Parkinson’s Awareness Week, Parkinson's UK has launched an online video that tells the public how to recognise and support someone who suffers from the disease. The video features an older man at an aircraft museum who is reminiscing about his days as a pilot and talking about how things have changed since his diagnosis. He then points out some of the lesser-known symptoms, such as muscular pain, difficulty moving and freezing to the spot. He says that the people around him would help him if they knew about his Parkinson's, but most people don’t recognise the signs. The video ends by encouraging the viewer to simply ask people they think might be suffering from Parkinson's if they are ok.
Why is the charity doing this campaign?
Parkinson's UK says 77 per cent of people in the UK know little or nothing about the condition, and this is the group it hopes to reach. "Most people think it’s just the shakes," says a spokeswoman. "If you ask them about it, they mention Michael J Fox and Muhammad Ali and that’s about all they can tell you."
The charity wants to let people know that a tremor is just one of the symptoms of the disease and tell the public how their understanding can give people back some control. A recent study by the charity revealed that almost half of people who have Parkinson's and are admitted to hospital are denied regular access to the medication they need during their stay, which is another reason they hope to raise awareness.
What else is happening?
The charity has published a list of five ways that people with Parkinson's can lose control of their bodies to help people recognise the symptoms.
People are also being encouraged to leave messages in public places to help others understand what people with Parkinson's go through, then share pictures of the messages they have left on social media using the hashtag #incontrol.
How has it been received so far?
As of 10 April, there have been more than 60,000 views of the film on YouTube and it has reached 243,500 people on Facebook.
Third Sector verdict
This video is emotive, with the older man standing frozen still in a busy room where people pass by without recognising that he needs help. However, it also manages to convey the everyday problems faced by someone with Parkinson’s in a memorable way. The aim is simple – to get people to ask whether a person who might be suffering from Parkinson’s is ok – but it could make a big difference to someone in a time of need.