Parkinson’s Disease Appeal


Many Wenvoe residents will remember Helen and David Blessley and their contributions to village life. They moved to live in Penarth but still maintain village connections. Helen, being a superb cook, wrote a column called ‘Helen’s Kitchen’ for the magazine for over 15 years. This appeal has been written by their son-in-law, Marc Dunmore. 

The first thing we would like to say about David (Sarah’ s Dad, my father-in-law) or as I like to call him, Mr B, is that he is funny, strong, determined and not one to complain about anything. He is 78 and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease around 25 years ago.

Parkinson’s is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world. There are over 40 symptoms, from tremor and pain to anxiety. Some are treatable, but the drugs can have serious side effects. Mr B struggles to move, he struggles to eat, struggles to remember, he struggles to speak clearly and sleep is uncomfortable and disrupted. He has a hospital bed, walking frames, inflatable cushions and 2 wheelchairs to try and help. The alarms sound every 3 hours to remind Helen (Sarah’s Mum, my mother-in-law) to give his medication every 3 hours to deal with these symptoms but although the medication is supposed to help it can cause confusion and hallucinations. Parkinson’s Disease gets worse over time and at the moment there is no cure.

Helen is Mr B’s wife and main caregiver. She plays an integral part in his health, helping him to get the right treatments and help that he needs. As a result, he has been able to maintain the best possible lifestyle in the circumstances. However, this disease is not easy for anyone involved with the person living with it, whether family members or caregivers.

Not only do we want to help fundraise for Parkinson’s UK to help find a cure but also to provide funding for the local side of Parkinson’s. Our local Parkinson’s support group has been a lifeline for both Helen and Mr B. Not only can these groups introduce you to other families with Parkinson’s but can provide wonderful assistance for families like ours with information and events to help support everyone involved.

Mr B faces many challenges every day and we wanted to experience our own challenges. Over the course of the year Sarah will be virtually running Lands end to John O Groats (874 miles) culminating in both of us running the London Marathon and then…when one marathon isn’t enough, we will be running the Newport marathon a couple of weeks

later. The training for all this will most definitely be a challenge to fit in alongside dodging Covid, home schooling and working. However, when put into context with the challenges that Mr B and others like him face seems humble.

As you may be aware we have in the past run a few marathons between us so we wanted to make this one different and demanding. We did enquire about pushing Mr B round the London Marathon course in his wheelchair; however, this is not able to happen. So, instead Mr B will be joining us in his wheelchair, pushed by us, on some of our training runs around Cardiff. I’m sure there will be hard days for us both when the effort of running seems too much but we will take a leaf out of Mr B’s book and be strong, determined and try not to complain (not much anyway!!).

Through Virgin Money Giving, you can sponsor me, and donations will be quickly processed and passed to Parkinson’s UK. Virgin Money Giving is a not for profit organisation and will claim gift aid on a charity’s behalf where the donor is eligible for this.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please donate to this fantastic cause! We really appreciate all your support and thank you for any donations.

Donations can be made via https:// Once on the page you can click “donate” and then there are easy step by step instructions.