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Parkinson's sufferer, 72, writes song
WHEN Alan Wharton was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he felt like his world was ending.
Twenty-five years later, the condition leaves the Didcot grandfather often unable to walk and talk, and taking dozens of pills each day.
He has now poured his frustrations and loneliness into a song, which has been released on YouTube in time for Parkinson’s Awareness Week.
Mr Wharton, 72, said: “I wrote the song about a month ago when I was in a real down period, when I felt like the Parkinson’s was taking over who I am.
“I’ve been learning to play guitar and wanted to put down how I was feeling into words.”
The song, called Parkinson’s Lament, talks about Mr Wharton’s inability to walk and drive, asking why nobody can hear his pleas for help.
An estimated 127,000 people in the UK and about 12,000 in Oxfordshire suffer from Parkinson’s, a degenerative condition which causes tremors, muscle stiffness and slowness of movement.
Mr Wharton said: “It makes life pretty awful, I can tell you. I can’t walk in the morning until I’ve had my tablets.
“I also freeze so I can’t move at all. Earlier this week I came downstairs and for 30 minutes I was stuck by the sofa.
“My brain is still working the same, it’s trying to tell my feet to pick themselves up and move forwards. But they won’t.”
This week marks annual Parkinson’s Awareness Week, organised by the Parkinson’s UK charity. Its message is that no one should face Parkinson’s alone.
Mr Wharton started the Oxford and District branch of Parkinson’s UK in 1998, when he realised there was no local support.
It now has nearly 150 members and organises a full catalogue of events throughout the year.
Mr Wharton said: “The reason we have put the song on YouTube is to raise awareness of the condition. A lot of people have a vague idea and know it makes you shake, but not a lot beyond that.”
In the song, he pays tribute to his wife Pauline, saying she is “always there for me”.
He said: “She is my carer, she is everything to me.
“If I fall over, she’s there. She has had a hard time of it, I’m not the easiest person to be around.”
The grandfather-of-one also likes to paint and said it was the only way he could find true relaxation, though he found it frustrating when he was unable to draw a straight line.
He added: “I just wanted people to understand what it feels like, having this condition day after day.
“I can’t walk, I had to give up everything because of this.”
email@example.com l To watch Mr Wharton’s video, visit http:// bit.ly/Parkinsons-lament