Speaking up for change at the Liberal Democrat Conference

Earlier this week our staff were joined by people with Parkinson's at the Liberal Democrat Party Conference to speak up about the realities of living with the condition.

Apple watches Tom Brake MP try our buzzwire game
Among those offering their support was Apple Holden who believes that if people with Parkinson's say their piece, we can create a real change. Apple tells us how she found the conference:

"I've lived with Parkinson's for 7 years. When I was diagnosed I was already caring for my seriously ill husband and, since his death 2 years ago, I’ve been coping with bereavement and living with Parkinson's on my own.

"Volunteering with Parkinson's UK in the last year has been great and I was really pleased to go to the conference - even though I had never done anything like this before and was out of my comfort zone!

"It was such a brilliant opportunity, and a wonderfully supportive team from Parkinson's UK. I got to talk to people who are in a position to influence change, including parliament members, and told them what it's like to live with Parkinson's, how it progresses and how we adjust our lives around it.

"It was heart-warming to see that people were genuinely interested, asking poignant questions and expressing concern to enable us to change things for the better. After I had spoken to Tom Brake MP, he even wrote about it on Twitter. I was so excited that I pumped my fist in the air and shouted 'yes'!

"Other conference delegates came to me directly to ask me how I cope with Parkinson's as they have friends or relatives with the condition. I think we helped to educate lots of people on Parkinson's and the way it changes from day to day.

"Even though I was exhausted, I'd definitely do it again. I felt jubilant and hopeful that we made a difference. It's very powerful if we speak up about what's wrong with the system, what people with Parkinson's need, and what great work Parkinson's UK is doing. I say get the word out there - and just tell it as it is!"

Our information stand will also be at the Conservative and Labour party conferences in the coming weeks (with the Labour party conference starting this Sunday) so there'll be more opportunities for our staff and people with Parkinson's to talk to MPs and delegates about living with the condition. Nick Clegg's already tried his hand at our buzzwire game - will David Cameron and Ed Miliband have a go?

To see our pictures and tweets from all of the party conferences, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/parkinsonsuk

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