Parkinson's in the media this week

British acting legend, Bob Hoskins’ announcement that he was retiring from acting after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s caused a flurry of enquiries from the media to our charity on Wednesday night. Laura Carpenter, our Media and Communications Officer, talks about the busy week in the media for Parkinson’s.

Working in a press office you often expect for unexpected things to happen. The news agenda sets your working hours. When the phone rings at 5.30pm with an urgent enquiry you have to respond immediately because the media can’t and simply won’t wait.

Raising awareness and bringing attention to Parkinson’s as a condition to promote understanding for those affected is an ongoing challenge.

Someone well-known like Bob being diagnosed with Parkinson’s will of course be devastating for Bob and his family. But it also enables the condition to be brought into the light and to be talked about and explained.

Since the surprise announcement, our staff and people with Parkinson’s have been out and about in the media talking about the condition and what it means when someone is diagnosed.

Every national newspaper carried some information about Parkinson’s including the Daily Mail and Daily Express. As well as this fantastic coverage, our Chief Executive, Steve Ford, spoke to ITV’s Daybreak to give further information about the condition.

Daiga Heisters, our Head of Professional Engagement and Education, and Tim who runs our helpline have been interviewed by lots of local radio stations. 

These have included BBC Radio London, LBC, BBC Radio Suffolk and BBC Radio Merseyside – and the requests keep coming in.

Jane Hill at our 2011 Christmas concert
Jane Hillwhose Dad had Parkinson’s, and who is a BBC newsreader and one of our most active celebrity supporters, has also written about understanding of the condition on the Guardian website.

Our Director of Research Kieran Breen has also spoken to the Mail on Sunday the future of research into Parkinson’s, so look out for that one due out on Sunday too.

We hope this will mean more people will get the information and support they need from our charity. We’re already seeing this happening.

Since the announcement, our website has been inundated with visits to the site – 7,622 on Wednesday and 6,727 on Thursday. The second and third highest number of visits to the website ever in a single day - only behind to the launch of Parkinson’s Awareness Week earlier this year.

Bob’s announcement has been an important catalyst to get people to finally start talking about Parkinson’s. 

Once the media polish fades, we hope that the lasting legacy of his experience will be one of helping to create better understanding and awareness of the condition – something we so desperately need.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.