Raising awareness of early onset Parkinson's

After receiving a devastating diagnosis at just 42 years old, a brave woman with early onset Parkinson’s disease is aiming to raise awareness and reach out to others.

Tracy White is raising awareness of early onset Parkinson's.
Tracy White is raising awareness of early onset Parkinson's.

Tracy White was diagnosed with the disease in April 2014, and having found no-one her age with the disease, is now hoping to find more people with early onset Parkinson’s to offer support to each other.

Tracy, from Asserby, first started to notice symptoms of the disease shortly after the birth of her son Sebastian, who was sadly born in 2013 with a tumour on his liver, and was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary.

She said: “My right side was really slow to do things and wouldn’t move properly, and I couldn’t write. But at the time I just put it to the back of my mind because my son was so poorly.”

Thankfully, Sebastian soon recovered after an operation to remove the tumour, and Tracy decided to go and see her GP as she had also started to notice her right side shaking.

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She was referred to Boston Pilgrim Hospital and was admitted immediately as her blood pressure was alarmingly high, and initial CT and MRI scans pointed to her having had a stroke.

But this was shown to not be the case, so she requested to be referred to a neurologist, and once her appointment came through several months later, she was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s.

"It was such a shock,” Tracy said, “I was only 42, and it didn’t even cross my mind it could be that.”

According to Parkinson’s UK, the estimated number of people with Parkinson's in the UK under the age of 50 is 1,752, with just 1.2 percent of people with a diagnosis of Parkinson's are under the age of 50.

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Within the East Midlands, it is estimated that 11,591 people are diagnosed with Parkinson's.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s can be worsened through stress, and Tracy’s symptoms became worse when sadly, her dad was diagnosed with terminal melanoma just a month before.

"I put it to the back of my mind as I thought, it’s not going to kill me and I needed to focus on my dad,” Tracy said, “But then we lost my dad and I said I needed to get some help then.

"That’s why I had to talk about my diagnosis as there must be more people around here who are going through this. There are so many people who are in their 70s or 80s who have Parkinson’s, but I haven’t yet met anyone in Lincolnshire my age who has it.”

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Tracy said she’s been lucky that her husband Stephen and elder children, including Ellie-May, 21, have been incredibly helpful and supportive which has made a huge difference.

Tracy is now looking to reach out to anyone in the Louth, Skegness, Horncastle, or surrounding areas who have also had a diagnosis of early onset Parkinson’s. You can get in touch with Tracy by emailing [email protected]