Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (SASH) lit up blue last night to mark World Parkinson’s Day. The trust illuminated the water tower and the top of East Surrey Hospital a special hue of blue to mark the day. It was one of hundreds of locations in the UK that turned blue to show solidarity with the community on 11 April.
Parkinson's is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world, and while it predominantly affects older people, young people can be diagnosed with it too. In the UK approximately 145,000 people are currently living with the condition and there is no cure.
SASH is determined to play a leading role in raising awareness of Parkinson’s disease, how it affects people living with the condition and how healthcare professionals can provide them with the best care and support.
As well as lighting up East Surrey Hospital blue, SASH staff completed just under 1000 sit-to-stands for the global Sit2Stand initiative. The initiative was created by Neuro Heroes, a group of physiotherapists who help those with conditions like Parkinson's. The initiative was set up as a global effort to raise awareness of the importance of exercise for those suffering with Parkinson's Disease.
SASH also used the day to promote the importance of patients getting their medication on time, which is crucial to those diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. If doses are missed, it can increase the motor and non-motor symptoms of a patient. With SASH potentially having between 10 – 15 inpatients with Parkinson’s Disease at a time, it is important to get this right. SASH has invested in a dedicated Parkinson’s nurse specialist who works across the trust to check in on patients, educate staff and answer any queries or concerns.
Clare Addison, adult safeguarding lead nurse who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2016, said: “It was fantastic to see so many places in the local area light up blue for World Parkinson’s Day last night. As well as raising awareness of the condition, we hope that it starts a conversation or two about Parkinson’s. Not enough people understand what the condition is or what it really means to live with it.
“It’s a really strong visual symbol of support for people affected by Parkinson’s in the local area showing them that they are not alone. There’s still plenty of work to do though and we will continue to raise awareness until a cure is found.”
The events around the country were delivered by local members of the community with the support of Parkinson’s UK. The charity is investing in ground-breaking research to find a cure, and is here to support everyone affected by the condition until it is found.
Reflecting on this year’s efforts, Paul Jackson-Clark, Director of Fundraising and Engagement at Parkinson’s UK said: “The Parkinson’s community is filled with bold and bright individuals, and it’s been incredible to see so many national landmarks across the UK turning an equally bright blue for World Parkinson’s Day. The idea to light up buildings came from the community and it’s been brought to life by their passion and determination. It’s been my privilege to have worked alongside them on this year’s activity.
“With two more people receiving a Parkinson’s diagnosis every hour - the equivalent of 18,000 a year - it’s vitally important that people with the condition feel seen and supported by their local communities, which is why we’re so grateful to everyone who lit up blue.”
Visit www.parkinsons.org.uk/worldparkinsonsday to see images from across the UK and find out how you can support people with Parkinson’s. You can also visit SASH’s Twitter account to find out more interesting facts they’ve released regarding Parkinson’s Disease.