Woman di­ag­nosed with Parkin­son’s at 42 is set to trek through the Alps

‘It’s only now that I have started to come to terms with it’

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Edel Ke­nealy

A young woman has vowed to con­quer not only an Alpine ad­ven­ture but also the chal­lenges in her life as she con­tin­ues to come to terms with a di­ag­no­sis of Parkin­son’s dis­ease.

Su­san Ar­buckle, from Drum­sagard, Cam­bus­lang, was di­ag­nosed with early on­set Parkin­son’s three years ago aged just 42.

Now Su­san is tak­ing on the chal­lenge of a life­time by trekking around Mont Blanc to raise money for Parkin­son’s UK.

To­gether with 15 others in­clud­ing friend Ali­son Coia, she will walk around the high­est moun­tain in the Alps through Switzer­land, Italy and France over five days.

Set­ting off on her walk on Septem­ber 7, Su­san will be some­where be­tween France and Italy on Septem­ber 9 ex­actly three years af­ter doc­tors con­firmed her worst fears had been re­alised.

“I knew I had it, I could feel it,” Su­san said.

“I knew there was some­thing wrong. My hand writ­ing got very small and when I was in work, when I was mak­ing tea my hands start­ing shak­ing and fill­ing the ket­tle, that kind of thing.

“I got re­ferred to the hospi­tal and they did tests and I had to get scans and af­ter four months it was con­firmed that it was Parkin­son’s.

“Ini­tially the doc­tors were con­vinced it wasn’t that, they thought it was an es­sen­tial tremor. It wasn’t un­til they did the fi­nal scan that it was con­firmed.”

Su­san added: “It’s only now that I have started to come to terms with it, it has taken a good three years. I went to a sup­port group, it was called a young sup­port group but I was the youngest there. The peo­ple there were in their 50s and 60s, that shook me up. That was early into my di­ag­no­sis.”

Ex­plain­ing she has found more sup­port through other peo­ple di­ag­nosed at an in­cred­i­bly young age through sup­port fo­rums on­line, Su­san said she was on the Parkin­son’s UK web­site when she saw the advertisement for the fundrais­ing chal­lenge.

“To say this has changed my life is an un­der­state­ment,” Su­san said, “how­ever in a mo­ment of mad­ness I de­cided to sign up with Ali­son, a friend from work, and to­gether we have man­aged to raise nearly £5,300.

“It has been a truly hum­bling ex­pe­ri­ence and thanks to the gen­eros­ity of so many friends, fam­ily and col­leagues I in­tend to con­quer not only Mont Blanc but also the chal­lenge ahead of me in my life.”

Su­san and Ali­son, whose fa­ther has Parkin­son’s, have been work­ing hard to raise vi­tal funds for Parkin­son’s UK and have held sev­eral fundrais­ing events in­clud­ing a race night which raised £400, Hal­loween Spook­tac­u­lar which raised over £1,500, Christ­mas Jumper Day and sev­eral other events in their work at Capita.

Ex­plain­ing Parkin­son’s UK - the Parkin­son’s sup­port and re­search char­ity - has pro­vided a great in­sight into her ill­ness and what it means for such a young woman, Su­san said: “I re­ally hope they can find a cure and the fundrais­ing helps with that. I try to help out with re­search as well, fill­ing in ques­tion­naires and things like that.”

Paul Jack­son- Clark, di­rec­tor of fundrais­ing at Parkin­son’s UK, said: “Each of our over­seas chal­lenges is a vi­tal source of in­come for us.

Each chal­lenge pro­vides valu­able fund­ing for Parkin­son’s UK as we con­tinue to re­search a cure for the con­di­tion, which af­fects about 127,000 peo­ple in the UK. We are in­cred­i­bly grate­ful to Su­san, for her sup­port.”

Train­ing Su­san has been com­plet­ing nine-mile walks to pre­pare for the Mont Blanc chal­lenge

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