I want to draw attention to this wonderful choir based in London. Called Sing for Joy, it is made up of people with Parkinson’s Disease, and their friends and carers. It was initiated by two women who were diagnosed with PD and did not want to sit back and be medicated.
I heard these women speak at a conference last year, and there was something so inspiring about them. I felt they refused to be pathologised in a way so common in the healthcare system; you are your disease. And I felt it must be so empowering to feel, as someone with a life-changing condition, that there is a way of self-medicating, that something you are doing is helping, and you’re not just sitting back and letting someone prescribe drugs for you to passively swallow.
In fact, there is something about singing which is the antithesis of ‘passively swallowing’. Singing is powerfully life-affirming; I am still breathing. This is my voice. My voice. Do you hear me? Listen.