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During morning coffee and cakes in Ashfields Restaurant, a support group of Parkinson carers, patients and fundraisers met with Health and Social Care students to talk about the progressive neurological condition they live with each day.

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To demonstrate the effects of Parkinsons, students were asked to wear a rubber glove and then try to take coins out of a purse. Health & Social Care student Amy Hall (formerly of King James School, Knaresborough) said: “It was hard to feel the coins, and frustrating not being able to pick them out individually. I can imagine how difficult this would be if you were trying to pay for a bus ticket, with people queuing behind you, it must be hard to cope.”

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The Parkinsons support group talked about the vital importance of frequent medication. One carer said: “If you miss the medication it’s like turning off a switch, there are very serious implications for the patient.”

The loss of nerve cells in the brain causes the symptoms of Parkinson’s to appear. There is currently no cure and it is not yet known why people get the condition. Health & Social Care student Amy added: “I feel better informed about the disease now, for instance I didn’t realise that people as young as 20 can by diagnosed with it. Listening to those living with Parkinsons has helped me understand the disease, and how it affects people’s lives.”

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With an information stall in the College atrium, the Parkinsons group answered questions from students and staff, they then rounded off their visit with a pamper session by Beauty students in the College salon.

Ruth Hall, Information Officer for the Parkinsons carers group said: “We wanted to chat to young people about Parkinsons because it is an illness most people don’t understand. Our visit raised awareness of the kind of care patients need and the implications of caring for patients.”

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