Capel St Mary mum shares her experiences with Parkinson's as charity launches urgent fundraising drive
PUBLISHED: 12:18 10 April 2017 | UPDATED: 12:18 10 April 2017
A Suffolk mother-of-four living with Parkinson's is backing an urgent drive to boost research into the condition.
Former army servicewoman Sandy Mansfield, from Capel St Mary, was diagnosed with the illness last year.
She takes six tablets every day to ease chronic pain in her neck and back – and despite being a very active person now, the 52-year-old fears she will lose the ability to walk as her condition progresses.
Today Sandy, supported by her husband and four daughters, is sharing her experiences in a bid to help researchers find a cure.
Her call comes as national charity Parkinson’s UK launches an urgent campaign to raise awareness of the condition and prevent drugs for the condition falling behind other illnesses. The current treatment – levodopa – hasn’t changed in 50 years.
“I’d suspected that I might have Parkinson’s for a while before I was officially diagnosed,” she said.
“My father passed away from motor neurone disease and my sister has Alzheimer’s, so I was worried that it could be something else.
“It was almost a relief to be told that I had Parkinson’s. My doctor was taken aback by my reaction and my matter of fact approach to my diagnosis.
She added: “I’ve always loved being active and it scares me to think that I won’t be able to, as my condition progresses. I don’t know what will happen next, but I take life as it comes and live it to the full.
“It’s important to enjoy every moment – I’ve had a fantastic life and I still do.
“A cure would of course mean everything – it would give me my life back, and mean I’m not just waiting for the next stage of my Parkinson’s.”
Charity bosses at Parkinson’s UK fear a generation of people living with the condition may face an uncertain future – and like Sandy, will be conscious that their condition will never improve.
Area manager for the eastern region Ramila Patel said: “In the past 200 years we have made many strides forward, but people with Parkinson’s are still waiting for a treatment that can tackle the condition head on.
“Parkinson’s can leave people struggling to walk, talk and sleep.
Today, we say we won’t wait any longer.
That’s why Parkinson’s UK is spearheading, with the expertise of the research community and the support of those living with Parkinson’s, the step change needed to deliver better treatments and a cure faster.
“But we can’t do this alone. That’s why we’re urgently asking people to donate, in our first ever public fundraising campaign, whatever they can to support our vital work. We won’t tolerate Parkinson’s treatments falling behind.”
To donate, visit parkinsons.org.uk