Mother’s plea over Parkinson’s

Leanne Owen with her husband, Peter.
Leanne Owen with her husband, Peter.

A mother-of-two and former firefighter struck down with Parkinson’s disease is calling for greater financial support for research into better treatments.

Leanne Owen, was diagnosed in her early 40s and relies heavily on medication to keep her symptoms under control.

Despite this year being the 200th year of the disease being discovered, Parkinson’s UK recently warned that treatments remain primitive, with none that can stops or even slow it from spreading.

They say funds are desperately needed for research into new potential treatments, and have launched their first ever fundraising campaign.

Caused by a loss of nerve cells in the brain, the main symptom of Parkinson’s is uncontrollable shaking in the limbs.

Leanne, who is from Pontefract and has two sons in their 20s, said she was shocked by her diagnosis six years ago at the age of just 42, and is backing the calls from the charity for greater research.

She takes dopamine tablets on a morning, but once this wears off she admits her co-ordination becomes ‘clumsy’.

She has also lost most of the dexterity on her right side, has difficulty writing and has problems with her right leg.

She said: “When I was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s I felt alone.

“At first I didn’t want any treatment, I saw it as defeatist, but after a year I was put on medication, and now I take three different tablets a day.

“Taking my medication is a bit of a balancing act. I self-manage my doses depending on how I’m feeling, but sometimes my symptoms get bad so I think the tablets are often ineffective.

“There are some treatments for Parkinson’s, but it’s clear that people affected have issues with their medication.

“Not every treatment and medication suits everyone.

“My diagnosis has made me very here and now. A cure would be fantastic, but I can’t live my life by it.”

Steve Ford, chief executive at Parkinson’s UK 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.”

“We’re urgently asking people to donate, in our first ever public fundraising campaign.”

To donate, call 0800 138 6593 or log onto www.parkinsons.org.uk