A deputy care manager who was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s three years ago has now raised more than £2,500 for charity.
And now he hopes to inspire others at work and outside to ‘do their bit’.
James Wilkinson, who is 46 years old, completed the London Marathon in just over seven hours. Parkinson’s UK is currently helping to fund a ground-breaking study into the earliest stages of Parkinson’s disease.
In his role at Evergreen care home, located in Brentry, James is responsible for supporting adults with learning disabilities. However, in 2016 James faced his own personal challenges when he was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s. People are given a diagnosis of young-onset Parkinson’s when they develop Parkinson’s under the age of 50. Less than 1,800 people under 50 have Parkinson’s in the UK.
As soon as James was diagnosed, he decided to do his bit for those with Parkinson’s by raising money for Parkinson’s UK. He organised a concert, and took part in a 10k race. James then decided to go further and participate in the London Marathon.
James was part of a team of 240 runners who ran for Parkinson’s UK.
James said, “Running the London Marathon was one of most inspiring and hardest things I have ever done. I suffered a calf injury at around four miles, which slowed me down, but with a mixture of determination, the most amazing crowds, and support of the other runners I completed the race in just over seven hours. I have never said ‘thank you’ to so many people who called my name or who told me I had the best beard of the race!”
James added: “Crossing the line was a mixture of relief, exhaustion and sheer elation. It was a truly unique experience. It was great to be part of a team which is set to raise over £350,000.”
Evergreen supports adults with learning disabilities. Some residents also have a diagnosis of autism or other communication difficulties. Evergreen is located in Brentry, Bristol. The care home is managed by Priory Adult Care, a division within the renowned Priory Group, the mental healthcare specialists.
Jamie Rossiter, Registered Manager at Evergreen, said: “Everyone at Evergreen is really proud of James for running the London Marathon. James is a great colleague who always does his very best to support our residents, so it is hardly surprising that he has gone out of his way to help those with Parkinson’s.”
Justine Cahill, Managing Director for the South West and Wales at Priory Adult Care, said: “It was a great personal achievement for him to complete the London Marathon. He is very passionate about helping others with Parkinson’s. His determination is really admirable and we are so lucky to have him working with us at Priory Adult Care.”