Gloucester's Angela Sampson spread the word about World Parkinson's Day 2019

Angela Sampson loves to spend time in her garden and is grateful for the wonderful support provided by her friends. Photo Mark Sampson.
Angela Sampson loves to spend time in her garden and is grateful for the wonderful support provided by her friends. Photo Mark Sampson.

For the past 16 years, Gloucester's Angela Sampson has been living with Parkinson's disease, but that hasn't stopped her from doing the things she loves.

In fact, she's determined to keep busy filling each day with activities, such as gardening and cooking.

Like a lot of Australian's, Angela didn't know anything about the disease before she was diagnosed. 

"I had never heard of it until I got it," Angela said. 

It was picked up by the doctor based on her slowing of movements and small handwriting. She didn't believe it at first, but she continued with the medication, a decision that was the right one.

"The medication makes the symptoms more manageable," she explained. "I only gave up golf three years ago."

Unfortunately, the disease affects a person's balance, something that is quite important for playing golf. 

April is Parkinson's Awareness Month with World Parkinson's Day recognised on April 11 each year. According to Parkinson's NSW, 37 new cases are diagnosed each day with more than 80,000 people in Australia with the disease. Loss of smell is often one of the first symptoms of Parkinson's, but this often goes undiagnosed, along with changes in handwriting and poor sleep.

Research shows that exercise reduces Parkinson's symptoms, something that Angela can attest to. 

"It's important to keep busy," she said. "I'm still driving and I use a walker. 

"They can't keep up with me in the house," she laughed.

Every six months, Angela visits a specialist at John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle and she was told very early on that she could either decide to sit in a chair for the rest of her life, or get up and keep moving.

"As far as I'm concerned, I'm going to give it a run for its money," Angela said about her diagnosis. 

For Angela, who celebrated her 80th birthday last year, World Parkinson's Day is all about spreading the word about the disease, and raising funds to help support research and those dealing with a diagnosis.

For more information, visit www.parkinsonsnsw.org.au/