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Policymakers praise European Unity Walk vision!

Frieda Brepoels MEP
Frieda Brepoels MEP
John Bowis OBE
John Bowis OBE

Friday 24 August 2012

The EPDA is getting more and more support for its unique awareness-raising event – this time from high-profile figures in the European Parliament!

Frieda Brepoels MEP, who has a special interest in health and human rights, spoke to the EPDA this week and said:

“As a member of the European Parliament’s public health committee, I support the EPDA’s European Unity Walk. As 2012 is the European Year of Active Ageing, I hope this Unity Walk can contribute to raising awareness on Parkinson’s and can encourage policymakers to consider how people ageing with a chronic disease can maintain their dignity and active roles in society.”

This isn’t the only bit of good news either.

The EPDA also had an interesting talk with ex-MEP and European health champion John Bowis OBE. John is a long-term supporter of the EPDA and had great things to say about our initiative. Read his comments below.

“The EPDA is really taking on a huge project. A European Unity Walk has never been done before and it’s extremely encouraging that more than 450 people have signed up already. Who knows, the number may reach 500 and beyond come September.

“I think the branding is particularly impressive. Everything about the promotional tools – whether it’s the website, the logo, the flyers or the banners – is so vibrant and exciting. It captures the spirit of what a Unity Walk should be – fun, inclusive and dynamic. This sort of visual power is very important.

“The event deserves to be attended. There are too few occasions where the people living with neurological disorders actually get to talk with doctors, policymakers and treatment industry representatives beyond their immediate sphere of influence. But this event is all about bringing people from all over the world who can share their best-practice stories and experiences so that others can learn from them and go back to their own country and say, ‘Hey, this is happening in the Netherlands, for example, why can’t we have that in Slovenia?’ It’s an excellent initiative and one that I hope will be an enormous success for all involved.

“I think the EPDA has made big strides in increasing awareness about Parkinson’s among MEPs, the European Commission and the media – the recent MEP Support Network proved that – but perhaps it’s been more difficult with the general public. Yet this initiative will hopefully go some way to reversing that. There’s a long way to go towards getting the public to fully understand neurological diseases but it’s important we keep on trying, and for that the EPDA should be applauded. The public will only demand better services and more funds for research if they understand these diseases better. And that is what the European Unity Walk is trying to achieve.

“I really appreciate working with Parkinson’s organisations – whether national or global. There are so many people I’ve met who need support, and I’ve seen miracles happen. But it’s not just a miracle from chemicals or therapy. It is also a miracle through something that happens inside a person then they are given the confidence to use the tools that are put at their disposal to enable them to perform, to achieve and to make a difference to themselves and their families. And then they’ll make a difference to all of us. But they aren’t able to do that without patient organisations such as the EPDA and initiatives like the European Unity Walk.”

What do you think about the European Unity Walk? Can you afford not to come? Don’t worry – there’s still time! You can register for the Unity Walk here.