TV sports presenter Dave Clark is backing doctors in the fight against Parkinson’s disease.
Mr Clark, born in Ilkley, is the anchorman for boxing and darts with Sky Sports.
He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2011. Now he has praised the work of NHS Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in helping people with the disease.
The CCG has worked closely with Airedale NHS Foundation Trust and as a result, a new Parkinson’s disease nurse specialist is working at Airedale Hospital, funded for two years by Parkinson’s UK. The hospital has also appointed a new consultant who will specialise in Parkinson’s disease. “To hear about the fantastic work that is going on in and around my old hometown is heart-warming and encouraging,” he said.
“When I was first diagnosed I was asked how old my children were and if I had a big mortgage. Then I was given a leaflet and told to get on with it. I felt completely alone and unsupported. It was very frightening – just as it had been for my dad years before, who also had Parkinson’s.”
Mr Clark’s father Alan suffered from the disease for seven years. Parkinson’s made him so depressed; he committed suicide 30 years ago when Mr Clark was 17.
Tomorrow, as part of Parkinson’s Awareness Week (April 7 to 13), Mr Clark will speak at a 10 Downing Street reception, at the invitation of Prime Minister’s wife Samantha Cameron, about the importance of research into Parkinson’s.
Dr Graeme Summers, of Ilkley Moor Medical Practice, and an executive GP member of the CCG, said: “One of our strategic priorities is to look at redesigning and improving services in neurology.
“Our patients here have access to all the drugs needed to treat Parkinson’s but there is still no drug available that will delay or cure the disease.”
The theme of Parkinson’s Awareness Week is “Putting People with Parkinson’s Back in Control”, which aims to change the way the condition is viewed by the public and health professionals. For information visit parkinsons.org.uk.