I am his wife and his friend, as he is mine.
In the 20 years since Jean’s husband, Terry, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, she has had to become more self assured so that she can support him through diffi cult times.
I had always been quite shy and was happy to be a housewife and mother, while Terry worked in a job he loved. All that changed and I have had to become more assertive and have found strengths within myself which I did not know existed,’ she explains.
When Terry was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Jean found it diffi cult to get the information she needed about the condition. She collected a pile of books from the library, and sat in her car trying to understand what was happening to the man with whom she had built a happy, successful family life.
Little by little, Jean found the information she wanted. But she believes there is still a need for better information for people with Parkinson’s disease, at all stages of their illness.
‘Greater public awareness about Parkinson’s is also needed, so that people understand that the disease does not just affect the elderly,’ says Jean.
She believes that it helped Terry that their children were very young when he was diagnosed as he had to fi ght harder not to let his Parkinson’s affect their lives. He was determined to play rugby, go to theme parks, swim and take part in all the children’s activities along with other parents.
‘Terry is, after all, still Terry who just happens to have Parkinson’s,’ she says.
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