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This is my smile!

Ester was diagnosed with Parkinson's just over two years ago at 47. This year, Ester is an ambassador and together with her family, the face of A Walk in the Park 2016.

"Don’t look so serious”, my mother in law said, “smile for the camera”. 

“This is my smile” I replied.  It’s fair to say that the camera and I are no longer friends. 

I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s just over two years ago at 47.  The diagnosis took 30 minutes, quick and simple.   So many of what I thought were isolated health concerns, now had a name. I’d originally been diagnosed with Essential Tremors, but after taking medications that were not helping for 18 long months, I was grateful for a diagnosis and a way forward.   Many thought I was too young to have Parkinson’s.  “But what about Michael J Fox?” I would say, “the actor was diagnosed much younger than me”. 

I’m a mum with three daughters and a husband, a beautiful home, and Ginger, the ever adorable poodle.  Slowly, Parkinson’s tightened its grip on me and I had no choice but to leave the job I loved to focus on my health.  Sometimes, I had so little energy I could not take Ginger for a walk or manage everyday household chores.  It was pretty tough.  

Last year was my first A Walk in the Park and I was amazed to see so many people involved.  I felt less like I had Parkinson’s and more like I was part of one big family.

In May, I had Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery.  It wasn’t great to shave my hair off, and really, I needed DBS like a hole in the head!  But you know, apparently a hole in the head is exactly what I needed.  My only hope is that DBS does its job, so I can return to mine. 

In the meantime, and a good many novels later (I’m a real James Paterson fan!) I look forward to A Walk in the Park in August.  I’m amazed that Fight Parkinson’s chose my family to be the ‘face of the campaign’ – it’s funny to see our faces everywhere!

If it weren’t for DBS, I doubt I would have had the energy to walk this year.  Instead, I’m more excited than ever to be walking and fundraising, with energy to spare.   Each day, I’m increasing the time I spend on my indoor bike….and each day I increase my positive outlook on the future.

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