I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2006, aged 48. I thought I was just getting old when my friends noticed first symptoms. As with most people, when they are told they have early-onset Parkinson’s, I would not believe my diagnosis. In the meantime I turned sixty and have finally come to accept it.
Parkinson’s disease (Pd) is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects the motor system. The symptoms generally come on slowly over time. Early in the disease, most obvious are shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement, and difficulty with walking. Thinking and behavioral problems may also occur. Dementia becomes common in the advanced stages of the disease. Depression and anxiety are also common, occurring in more than a third of people with Pd. Other symptoms include sensory, sleep, and emotional problems. One couldn’t ask for more in any disease.
At the 4th World Parkinson Congress in Portland I had the idea of Rockstars singing duets together with persons with Parkinson’s, to show the world that we’re just as human as they are. I thought that by building a cool website outlining the project, my idea would grow quickly, and that thousands of people around the world would join in a big way like when Bob Geldof called for help with Band Aid in 1984.
The reality wasn’t like that. It took two years to get the musicians on this CD together. They all have very different backgrounds, from singer-songwriter to melodic hardrock, but they all share passion for music, and their empathy for us. And so eleven original songs were recorded, a live performance added and the album is ready for the 5th World Parkinson Congress in Kyoto.
I am grateful for project funding by Austrian medicare, and for every hour spent with the fine people in the music industry. Gerald Ganglbauer, parkinsong.org
Gerald Ganglbauer (born 24 February 1958 in Graz, Austria) is an Austrian–Australian writer and publisher diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 48 years. Since then he has been an ambassador for Parkinson’s support groups.
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