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Michelle's story

 

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Michelle, Middlesborough

Research changed my life because... it’s helped me to rebuild my confidence and realise the role I can play in improving future treatments

I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in August 2009. Many members of my family have Parkinson’s and we’ve been involved in research to try and fi nd a cure or slow the symptoms down.

I think I had a huge shock when I found out I had Parkinson’s and it really knocked me for quite a while. Research has helped me understand more about myself and about the work that is going on to help people like me with Parkinson’s.

Research makes you realise how many brilliant people there are working to find a cure or to ease symptoms. I want to tell everyone that these people are looking and that they will fi nd something eventually. It gives hope.

Research has also given me the confi dence to look into my condition. I’m starting a short university course in the next few weeks to learn more about my brain. It’s at Birmingham University and it’s called “Good brain, bad brain”. That leads onto another course about Parkinson’s that I would like to complete as well. I need to learn what is going on in my brain and why these symptoms are happening. I think research has pushed me to find out more. After all, if everyone else knows about my brain, why shouldn’t I?

After I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I took up photography. It may seem like a strange hobby for someone with Parkinson’s, but I don’t have a tremor as such. If I use a tripod, my images aren’t too bad. I really enjoy photography and fi nd it challenging, especially the macro work I have been doing. After getting involved in research, my confi dence increased dramatically and I’ve taken on the role of secretary of the group. I would not have considered the role before taking part in research, because I would not have been confi dent enough. I feel really proud about it. In some ways I am glad I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s because I don’t think I would have come as far as I have.