Actor Tom Hickey urges Parkinson's patients to reach out
Actor Tom Hickey is encouraging everyone in Sligo to plan a journey to Dublin's historic Merrion Square on Saturday April 11th to support World Parkinson's Day.
The Parkinson's Association of Ireland (PAI) has organised a 'Unity Walk' to raise awareness of the neurological disorder.
Tom was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2013.
This is the third year that the PAI, who have a branch in Donegal and Sligo combined, have organised the Unity Walk. They're also partnering with fellow Parkinson's groups Move4Parkinson's and PSPA Ireland for the first time to mark World Parkinson's Day.
All three organisations hope to be joined by families and friends of people with Parkinson's Disease from all over the country in a show of solidarity and support for those daignosed with the progressive neurological disorder.
Tom Hickey is the offical ambassador for this year's Unity Walk. He's one of Ireland's most successful stage actors and perhaps most fondly remembered for his role as Benjy Riordan in RTE's TV series 'The Riordan's."
"It it vital for people to know the symptoms of PD and to speak to their doctor if they have any concerns. My diagnosis was very difficult, but with the support of family and friends I know I won't be on this journey alone," he said at the Unity Walk launch.
"I would encourage anyone with PD to reach out to the PAI for support and to get your health on track. Everyone who can make it on April 11th please get out there and join us to support people living with PD on this special day," he said.
Sligo pharmaceutical firm AbbVie is involved also. It's sponsored a new information booklet to ensure that everyone affected by Parkinson's are as well informed as possible about the disease.
The booklet, 'Parkinson's...planning your journey', will be officially launched on World Parkinson's Day April 11th.
It will also be available from the PAI.
The Parkinson's Unity Walk will take place at 12 midday sharp on April 11th, starting at the Davenport Hotel on Merrion Street and journey around Merrion Square Park.
There will be light refreshments and entertainment at the Davenport Hotel afterwards. Members of the public are invited to just come along on the day and join in a unique event.
"The main aim of our Unity Walk for World Parkinson's Day is to raise awareness across Ireland about Parkinson's and its impact on people living with the disease," said PAI CEO Paula Gilmore.
"We want to improve the quality of the lives of the 9,000 people in Ireland living with PD on a daily basis. It's important for peole to be aware of the symptoms of PD, as well as understanding the condition and what it menas for you and your family. Parkinson's is a journey and the PAI are here on every step to support you."