Never give up
By ANTHONY THANASAYAN (The Star Newspaper)
PEOPLE with Parkinson's disease (PwP) across the nation are looking forward to this Sunday. One of them is Sara Lew, whose father was diagnosed with Parkinson's 20 years ago.
"My dad and I will join 200 other PwP, their caregivers, and volunteers to sign a significant World Health Organisation document called 'The Global Declaration of Parkinson's disease' in Kuala Lumpur," said Lew, who is president of the Malaysian Parkinson's Disease Association (MPDA).
Lew joined the association a year after it started in September 1994.
File Pic - July 2008: Sara with her father and the late Mr. Chong Kim Wah, also a person with Parkinson's enjoying an evening out together.
"Back then, it was hard for anyone who had Parkinson's disease (PD). My family had nowhere to go to get the right information about PD," said Lew, whose 80-year-old father is now at the advanced stage of the disease. Age has added more complications as he has glaucoma and diabetes.
"People may not realise that caregivers often go through the same experiences as PwP. Because we are always there with our loved ones, it is frustrating to see the disease taking its toll on them. And yet, it is through these vulnerable moments that the patient and their caregivers gain strength from each other."
Lew stressed the need to bridge the gap between health workers and government bodies. "Everyone should learn what PD is, how it affects sufferers, and what we can do to bring about change wherever we are.
"Sunday's signing is significant for my father and I, because Dad taught me to never give up no matter what life deals you. He never once complained about what he is going through," said Lew.
Assoc Prof Dr Norlinah Mohamed Ibrahim of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, agreed with Lew's sentiments.
The consultant neurologist who specialises in PD and movement disorders felt that the signing of the Parkinson's global declaration was especially meaningful when it had the participation of PwP.
Dr Norlinah said she was greatly encouraged by the Health Ministry's endorsement of the Parkinson's Global Declaration.
"The move is a boost for all PwP," Dr Norlinah noted. "It is time the Government and society took positive steps to ensure that PwP are given the rights they deserve."
The Global Declaration of Parkinson's disease was proposed by the Working Group for PD, which was formed by the World Health Organisation in 1997.
The Working Group urges every government to take an active role in the care of PwP.
The group calls for increased awareness of the disease, and better care for patients. It also calls for a closer working relationship between healthcare professionals and patient support groups, more research into the disease, and better practice guidelines regarding medication for the elderly.
For more information about Parkinson's Disease, contact the Malaysian Parkinson Disease Association in Kuala Lumpur (www.mpda.org.my / 03-7980 6685 / email@example.com).