Since our last branch news was submitted we have been quite busy on a number of fronts. Eight people from Cork represented the Branch at the Social Gathering in Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone. indeed 2 couples extended their stay at the hotel for an extra few days to relax after the fast moving, but most enjoyable weekend. The Cork Parkinson’s committee set a goal for the branch to bring support closer to people who live some distance from Cork. Tony Wilkinson spearheaded this initiative. Tony was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in the UK about 3 years ago and had the benefit seeing at first hand the level of support available to newly diagnosed Parkinson’s Patients in the UK from both Parkinson’s Nurse Specialists and Parkinson’s Support groups.
Through his efforts and with the support of his wife, Kate, and many others whom he has enlisted along the way, including radio stations, newspapers,volunteer organisations, UK trained Parkinson’s nurses and People with Parkinson’s in West Cork, we now have a Bandon Parkinson’s Support Group, A Skibbereen Parkinson’s Group
and plans for a group in either Schull or Bantry. These are local support groups run by people in the localities. Tony also plans to set up a Mallow Parkinson’s Support Group and to help people in Fermoy to get their group firmly established.
As well as monthly coffee mornings we now have 3 different weekly classes running in Ballincollig Community Centre. On Mondays, Voice and Music Therapy, Tuesdays Set Dancing, Thursdays Exercise classes.
We also have a Voice and Music Therapy class in Market Green, Midleton on Mondays. The Voice and Music Therapy classes are presented by Jessica O’ Donoghue, who spoke at the Social
Gathering mentioned above as well as all the Parkinson’s Patient Conferences last year. Jessica is a qualified Speech and Language Therapist and also a Music Therapist and is now a lecturer on the Music Therapy Course at UL. Her classes focus on improving the strength and clarity of speech through breathing control, voice projection, upper body exercises and end with a relaxed singing of
a favourite song and discussion about the song’s Muckross House & Gardens meaning.
In Bandon on Thursdays the Bandon Movers and Shakers Exercise class has been running for the past 8 months. In Ballincollig the exercise classes started in early January 2018, they are physio- led exercise classes and have been well attended and very enjoyable. We also hope to have a number of information meetings a
conference and social outings during the year. We had our Annual Party on 21st January 2018, more than 150 people were in attendance at the Clayton Silversprings Hotel/Events Centre, Cork. This was a new venue this year and everybody enjoyed it. The function room was extremely comfortable with huge windows letting in natural light and views of the new Pairc Ui Chaoimh, the most modern Sports Stadium in Ireland. We were treated to a feast of excellent food served efficiently. We were then treated to a feast of music during the afternoon from two local bands who came together to play for the group free of charge. We also got an opportunity to display the set dancing skills we have learned with the much appreciated assistance of Ballincollig Comhaltas.
We were entertained also by Mary B, Billy, Declan and Caoimhe. Paula Gilmore was unable to attend
due to another commitment.
We congratulate Paula on the excellent 5 year strategic plan produced under her guidance. It is excellently formulated and concisely written. It enables branch leaders to show that alongside the generous volunteer spirit of each branch there is a well managed, dynamic, functional organisation which is very much in touch with needs of Parkinson’s patients nationally and locally. We continue to strengthen our links with the UCC Parkinson’s research hub and are presently involved in 2 separate research projects. We are also having discussions with Professor Aideen Sullivan of the Neuroscience Department about getting involved in an Open Day at UCC in March on Neurodegeneration. We live in hope that all the Parkinson’s research worldwide will soon deliver either a cure or a treatment that will greatly improve our quality of life. May the year ahead be memorable for all the right reasons!
The Cork Unity Walk will take place on Wednesday 11th April at 10:30 in Ballincollig Park followed by refreshments at Oriel House Hotel