The Spark is a new international symbol for Parkinson’s awareness
It’s the twinkle in your eye,
That bounce in your step,
A zest for life,
The runners high.
It’s our voices ringing loud,
And a cure for the whole PD crowd.
It is the power that connects my neurons,
It is the power that connects us.
It is the power that changes me and
it is the power that will change our world.
It is the spark that will one day be the cure
Tim Hague Sr
I believe it was my son’s grade 12 year in high school and we were attending one of his football games. Prior to leaving for the game, I remember seeing him getting ready. As he put on his uniform, I noted that a number of the pieces were pink. Knowing the answer, I none the less asked, ‘what’s all the pink about?’ In typical high school boy manner, he responded with, ‘Oh, I don’t know, something about cancer.’
I am chagrined to admit it but I was instantly annoyed, even angry. Why not us? Why not Parkinson’s. Why do we lack this level of recognition by the larger community?
Throughout our thirty plus years of marriage I’ve often said to my wife that I feel like I’m missing my ‘happy gene’. That ability to just be happy in life. It was during my nursing education that I learned about dopamine and its function in regulating our emotions and that it is dopamine that specifically gives us that runner’s high. I had been a runner for years and loved that high!
The penny finally dropped when I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and learned that Parkinson’s prevents the production of…dopamine – my happy drug. And there you have it. I believe that much of life has been coloured by my bodies lack of ability to produce my happy drug, dopamine. (Disclaimer: I am not suggesting that all of my emotional function, or dysfunction, is related solely to my dopamine levels. But we do know that it plays a role.)
The lack of dopamine is akin to cell service. You may have the very latest and greatest in cellular devices but if you don’t have cell service your device is just a fancy brick. Those of us with Parkinson’s disease are often living life with just one or two bars of service. Thus, we ‘drop calls’, there is often ‘static’ on the line, we miss things that are said and are often not heard. We have trouble uploading files and are often asked to ‘try again later’. Frequently there are those who get frustrated and just ‘hang up’. Many come to live in silence and isolation.
Today the playing field has been leveled and we in the Parkinson’s community now have our symbol. We call it ‘The Spark’. It represents dopamine that neurochemical that produces a spark of communication between our cells and provides, in part, that joie de vivre, that joy of living. We also believe it will provide that Spark of understanding by the world at large as we share the needs of the Parkinson’s community.
This April 11th is World Parkinson’s Day (#worldparkinsonsday). Along with the PD Avengers and their 80+ organizational partners from around the world we are launching The Spark (#thespark) to bring greater awareness to the needs of our community.
You Can Help By:
- Being a loud voice on the 11th advocating for awareness & change
- Share The Spark throughout your community and social circles. Go to www.worldparkinsonsday.com to find easy to use tools and posts for social media.
- Tweet, retweet, post, repost, like and forward until the internet burns brightly with #worldparkinsonsday & #thespark
Let your community know that you are part of a global alliance to end Parkinson’s this World Parkinson’s Day! Together we can #uturnpd!
Live Your Best!
Executive Director U-Turn Parkinson’s
CoFounder PD Avengers
204-781-2327 Mobile & What’sApp