Michael J. Fox Image Credit: Corbis

Did you know one in every 500 people suffer from Parkinson’s disease (PD)? In the UAE, with a population of some 8.26 million, this equates to about 16,500 sufferers.

The Parkinson’s Support Dubai group aims to reach out to all PD patients to share experiences, discuss alternative forms of medication and teach exercises to minimise symptoms. Consultant Neurologist at Mediclinic City Hospital Dr Gunther Wihl says, “Support groups, particularly patient-led groups, aim to help maintain and improve the quality of life of PD patients. They can be a valuable source of advice, support and education. In the absence of a national PD society, the newly formed support group in Dubai is a promising first step to help patients locally.”

This is not the first attempt at forming a PD support group in Dubai. Lawyer-turned-marathon- runner Alex Flynn ran the Dubai Marathon in 2011 in the hope of raising awareness of PD. Flynn was just 35 years old when diagnosed with the condition in 2008, but has since embarked on a ten-million metres fundraising and PD awareness campaign, which has taken him across the globe.

Possibly the most well-known suffers of the degenerative disorder of the central nervous system are Michael J. Fox (pictured), Muhammad Ali, Pope John Paul II, Salvador Dalí and Deng Xiaoping. Fox’s initiative Team Fox was launched in 2006. Flynn is closely associated with the initiative and hopes to launch Team Fox Dubai as the fundraising arm of the support group.