Wakefield woman stars in new Parkinson's TV advert highlighting support services

Shafaq Ali features in a brand-new advert that focuses on the charity’s services.Shafaq Ali features in a brand-new advert that focuses on the charity’s services.
Shafaq Ali features in a brand-new advert that focuses on the charity’s services.
Shafaq Ali from Wakefield, who has received support from Parkinson's UK, features in a brand-new advert that focuses on the charity’s services.

The advert features six people who embody the core message that “I have Parkinson’s, but it doesn’t have me”.

Shafaq, 43, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 40. Since diagnosis, she controls her symptoms with medication and exercise - she has attained an orange belt in Kung Fu - and works part-time in dentistry.

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Shafaq said: “Being in this advert has been both an immense privilege and a great experience for me. I believe that it is important to raise awareness of Parkinson’s through the use of adverts on primetime TV as their potential audience is huge.

"That is precisely what we need – for more people to know that Parkinson’s can affect anyone and everyone.

“But everyone needs to know that you can have Parkinson’s and live well. Yes, the condition can change things – but not always entirely for the worse.

"Charities such as Parkinson’s UK provide a vital support and information network for those with the condition. In the relatively short time since I was diagnosed, Parkinson’s UK has helped me find my sense of purpose again.

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“I sincerely hope that with this advert people will realise that a diagnosis of Parkinson’s, while being significant, does not need to diminish who you are as a person. All of us in the advert have chosen to Live Well despite Parkinson’s – and intend to continue doing so for as long as we can.”

The six stars of the advert are, in the order they appear, Dennis, 70, from Kent, Simon, 41, from Worcester, Darsha, 59, from Harrow, Shafaq, Tizzy, 27 from Sunderland, and David, 59, from Tameside, Greater Manchester. They all have different experiences of Parkinson’s and demonstrate how it’s a condition that affects a wide range of people.

The advert will next be shown during Paxman: Putting Up with Parkinson’s, a documentary in which broadcaster Jeremy Paxman reflects on life with the condition 18 months after his diagnosis.

The documentary will air at 9pm on Tuesday, October 4 on ITV 1.

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Juliet Tizzard, Director of External Relations at Parkinson’s UK, said: “We just couldn’t miss the opportunity of Parkinson’s featuring in a TV drama and a high-profile documentary. With this often misunderstood condition firmly in the spotlight, we wanted to let people with Parkinson's and their loved ones know that Parkinson’s UK is here to help and support them.

“Shaped by people with Parkinson’s, the advert sends a message of hope and support to people with Parkinson’s, whilst also showing the wider public that the condition can affect anyone. We’re so thankful to everyone in the advert and all those who were involved in the making of it.”

Benjamin Dawson, Founder and Creative Director of Blonde, says: “We are delighted to have worked with Parkinson’s UK again on this new advert that we hope people find inspirational and informative. A key part of the brief was to create an evergreen advert that can be used for future reactive moments, ensuring that Parkinson’s UK can always champion the needs of people living with Parkinson’s and play a key part in wider conversations about the condition.”