Many spectators enjoy watching a good cycling race, especially when it is at the Olympic Games. Now, however, the level of enjoyment has been set to a high standard by the Surrey police. Mark Worsfold, 54, did not meet that bar when he was consequently thrown to the ground, handcuffed and brought to the police station where he was charged with breach of the peace. He was allegedly in breach of the peace because he did not support a smile while observing the Olympic Games. Unfortunately, Worsfold is not capable of displaying a smile or a frown on his face since his ill-fated diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in 2010.
Worsfold is a former soldier and a martial arts instructor who has a range of symptoms that vary almost hourly. Like most Parkinson’s patients, Worsfold’s struggles can be seen in his facial expressions, or lack thereof. The muscle rigidity in his face affects his ability to control how he would like to express himself. Although Worsfold was most likely enjoying the race, he can easily be perceived as having a hostile appearance.
Whether there was an absence of compassion, a chronic misunderstanding or simply plain ignorance, this is the type of treatment that patients with Parkinson’s disease have to suffer through each day. Raising awareness of this life-altering disease will help reduce the amount of assumptions that many sufferers face – whether the assumption be that they are publicly intoxicated or planning to attack athletes during Olympic events. A more empathetic approach needs to be practiced and what better way to start than to have a party to kick it off. “Shake It Up For Parkinson’s” will bring awareness and education to the community. Individuals with Parkinson’s disease should be welcomed in the community and at public events, rather than have to face the assumptions thrown at them each day.
Hope to see you there!
*Don’t miss a special evening with rock legend Tom Cochrane in support of the Morton & Gloria Shulman Movement Disorders Centre at the Toronto Western Hospital. Set in the fabulous Capital Event Theatre, the event will include an open bar, great food, a silent auction and amazing entertainment.