(NC)—For a person living with Parkinson’s, each day can be a struggle with common tasks that most of us take for granted – walking, writing, eating, swallowing, sleeping. A spouse or partner often becomes the primary caregiver. Each step in this progressive, neurodegenerative disease (for which there is currently no cure) influences a family’s quality of life and financial status. Pain, fatigue and depression, often found in the early stages of this disease, can profoundly affect family relationships.

As our population ages, there will be a substantial increase in the number of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s – one of the most baffling and complex of the neurological disorders. According to Mary Jardine, executive director of Parkinson Society Canada, “Some researchers claim the cure to Parkinson’s can be found in the next decade. We are the only national organization in Canada supporting some of the world’s best Parkinson’s research in the world. We want to hasten the discovery of a cure and develop therapies to halt the disease’s progression. But that takes money and we are only able to fund a fraction of the promising innovative project applications we receive each year.”

The study of Parkinson’s has contributed more than any other neurological disorder to the understanding and management of other neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Dr. Ali Rajput, Chair of Parkinson Society Canada’s Scientific Advisory Board, says: “We are so close to unlocking clues to the cause of Parkinson’s and how it progresses. Once we do that, it will be a whole different ball game. Then treatments to slow or halt the progression, or even to prevent the condition, will be within reach.”

For people living with Parkinson’s and their families, extraordinary advances in understanding and treating the condition are not enough. These people want a way to stop their brain cells from dying. They do not want to take effective – but toxic – drugs several times a day, every day, for the rest of their lives. They want a cure.

You can help. More information is available from Parkinson Society Canada at 1-800-565-3000 or www.parkinson.ca.