A 39-year-old from Bedford who has been diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease is taking on 20 activities in 30 days ahead of her 40th birthday to raise money for charity.
Clare Taalab – who by her own admission is a ‘reluctant exerciser’ – has taken on her physical fundraising challenge with the aim to raise £2,000 for Parkinson’s UK and Cure Parkinson’s. You can sponsor her here.
Throughout the month of April, Clare has 30 days to complete 20 challenges including 500 burpees, 1,000 lunges, an hour in plank, six hours of yoga and 500 squats.
Clare was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease five days before her 38th birthday.
Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition which means that those diagnosed don’t produce enough dopamine which regulates movement.
People with Parkinson’s experience a range of symptoms including slowness of movement, rigidity and shaking.
Clare first noticed symptoms in the summer of 2018 when she found her foot would drag and swing-out when walking. Gradually the symptoms worsened, with the issues in her foot causing pain and cramping, and symptoms beginning to affect her right hand which prevented her from typing – a real challenge given her office-based job.
After a year of medical appointments, Clare first discovered that Parkinson’s could be an issue for her when she read a copy of a letter sent to her doctor by her consultant.
Clare said, “Reading that letter was such a shock – it felt like time stood still. The consultant hadn’t even mentioned to me that Parkinson’s could be a possibility.”
After a further fortnight of trying to contact the consultant with no-one returning her calls, Clare eventually sought a private consultation which confirmed her fears – the symptoms she was experiencing were caused by Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease.
Around 145,000 people live with Parkinson’s in the UK and whilst Parkinson’s is usually thought of as a later life condition, around 1 in 20 people with Parkinson’s develop symptoms before the age of 50.
Exercise is really important for people with Parkinson’s to address their symptoms so Clare, by her own admission, “a reluctant exerciser” before her diagnosis, decided to make the most of the hand she’d been dealt and turn her exercise regime into a fundraising challenge.
The 20 in 30 before 40 fundraising challenge was born.
Clare started a blog to document her experience of living with Parkinson’s and, this Parkinson’s Awareness Month is encouraging everyone to find out more about Parkinson’s, the fastest-growing neurological condition in the world.
She said, “I wanted to take something fundamentally bad, my diagnosis, and turn it into something positive.
“My diagnosis was pretty devastating but since then, the support I’ve received from family, friends and other people with Parkinson’s, has given me the strength to push myself more than I thought possible.
“I’m partway through the challenge now and, it’s fair to say, I’m pretty tired!
“But I don’t plan to give up! With every bench press, step-up and lunge, I know I’m getting closer to my goal of completing my challenge and raising over £2,000 to help others diagnosed with Parkinson’s.”
You can donate through Clare’s Virgin Money Giving page here.