In 1991, when Julie Singh was only two, her father, Peter, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Peter was 37 and a welder by trade. His initial symptoms were a shaking in his left arm and an overall feeling of stiffness.
When Peter’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s was confirmed two months after the first symptoms appeared, his whole world collapsed and he sank into depression for nearly three years.
“But then I woke up to myself, got up and started living,” he said.
For Julie’s mother, Elaine, the news of Peter’s illness was incredibly tough as not only did she have a two-year-old to look after, she had two other children, Bruce and Clarissa, aged 7 and 11, and Clarissa had epilepsy.
On March 3, 2011, Peter underwent Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) to control the constant involuntary movement that had become so bad Julie had to stand on his feet just so he could eat a meal.
On March 23, 2015, Peter had his right kidney removed due to cancer. As the years have passed, he has developed one of the less common Parkinson’s symptoms of Pisa Syndrome where a person leans to one side.
At 71, Peter leans to the right, still has slowness of movement and, since the DBS, has developed an issue with swallowing. His hearing and memory are, however, good.
Now 31, Julie made the conscious decision to continue living at home so she could help her parents as much as she can.
“I try and keep positive…I just want to be there for Mum and Dad,” she said.
This is her story.