I am Leanne Owen. For as long as I can remember I’ve lived in a bubble. A beautiful bubble, big enough to share with my husband Pete, our 2 sons and our dog. Plenty of room for career hopes, dreams and aspirations. A beautiful bubble shared with close family and friends. It kept out the rain and allowed the sunshine of life to filter through. Life was good.
In 2008 I was a watch manager in West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service. In my role I had to make life saving decisions at fires, road accidents and other emergency situations. Then my mouse finger stopped working, the first of many symptons. On 21st February 2011 a neurologist at Pinderfields Hospital gave me news which burst my bubble. I have Parkinson's.
Having retired from the Fire Service due to my Parkinson’s, I found myself with time to spare. I needed a focus for my energies, my ideas and my experience. Fundraising for Parkinson’s UK provided me with that focus. In May following my diagnosis I completed the coast to coast walk, walking from St Bees on the west coast to Robin Hoods Bay on the east coast, a long way to drag my leg but worth every lost toenail. I stand car boot sales, I have held fashion shows, garden parties and jubilee celebrations. In September 2012 my youngest son and I flew up into the sky in a perfectly safe aeroplane and jumped out attached to a complete stranger with a bit of cloth and some string to slow down our fall. I really think the Parkinson’s has affected my logical thinking. Wow what a thrill...but never again.
Some of my fundraising has been quite challenging, but the effort I have given has been matched by the satisfaction I have felt. Not only the satisfaction of completing each challenge, but the satisfaction of knowing that I am making a difference.
Parkinson’s UK has become a big part of my life, I know they're there when I need them and I know they have their finger on the pulse of all things Parkinson’s related. Not only support for those affected by Parkinson’s but also all the research. I know together we can make a difference and hopefully find a cure.
I remember in the early weeks of my diagnosis, during a particular tearful night, I cried at the realisation that my bubble had burst. Pete’s reply was straight forward...he said, ‘We’ll blow another bubble’. I realise now that bubbles don’t last forever. But, with the right mixture of support, optimism and generosity, a new bubble is never far away.
So I’m going to end my story where I started;
I now live in a new bubble. A beautiful bubble. Big enough to share with my husband Pete, our 2 sons and our dog. Plenty of room for hopes, dreams and aspirations. A beautiful bubble shared with close family and friends. It keeps out the rain and allows the sunshine of life to filter through.
Life is still good. x
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