In many ways Parkinson’s Society Singapore (PSS) www.parkinsonsingapore.com represents the model for a Parkinson’s support organization. In existence for 18 years, and in their current office space for almost 2 years now, they offer a wide variety of support functions, including assisting those with Parkinson’s to access needed services; teaching classes, including different forms of exercise; and organizing biennial outings. Therefore, PSS was a perfect group for me to partner with to attempt to further Parkinson’s Awareness through Run-the-World 4 Parkinson’s Disease. One strategy that PSS was able to assist with here in Singapore was leveraging media to help disseminate the message.
Arriving after an overnight flight from Melbourne, I was met at the airport by my niece, Rena, and her husband, Chang. We made our way to the PSS office, where the crowd quickly grew from a few PSS staff members to a large group that included those with Parkinson’s, family members, local physical therapists, and even three of my wife’s childhood friends: Crystal, Jenny and Jocelyn.
My first task was to answer a list of questions provide by the national newspaper, The Straits Times, while we awaited the arrival of their photographer – all for an article in the paper’s regular Fit and Fab section. Some questions were harder than others to answer. One particularly easy question was, “Is your wife as Fit and Fab as you are?”
As part of their efficient and well organized plan for the event, PSS had secured access to the running track at a nearby sports stadium. This allowed those that wanted to run, an opportunity to begin at the PSS office and then run/walk at their own pace on the running track. This was particularly enjoyable for me, as I was able to meet with the individuals and get to know a little bit about them, as we circled the track. Given the heat and humidity, I was impressed and motivated by the number that chose to participate with me and challenge their physical limits.
I would like to end by once again thanking PSS President, Julie Lau, and my main contact throughout planning, Elise Ho, along with the other members of the PSS staff for this special event. I would also like extend my gratitude to all those that attended and participated so enthusiastically in running/walking and discussions about Parkinson’s. I am certain that for those of us in attendance we all the opportunity to some way become more aware about Parkinson’s. My hope is that the media attention for this event will reach beyond those of us that attended and raise the awareness of others regarding Parkinson’s.