SHAKING and slurring has left Parkinson’s sufferer Sally Sines mistaken for being drunk.
The 50-year-old was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2010 and since then has been discriminated against on several occasions.
She has told of her experiences as this week is Parkinson’s Awareness Week, which aims to get people to learn basic information about the disease.
Sally remembers an incident in a shop when a sales assistant refused to serve her because they thought she had been drinking.
She said: ‘One of the symptoms of Parkinson’s is that your hands shake and your speech slurs.
‘I was in a supermarket going through the checkout when the person refused to serve me because she thought I was drunk.
‘I was so embarrassed and humiliated.
‘I explained to her supervisor that I suffered with Parkinson’s and he was really apologetic.
‘But it made me feel terrible and it hurt.’
Parkinson’s UK, a national charity, has revealed statistics that show a third of Parkinson’s sufferers in the south have been discriminated against because of their symptoms.
Data also showed that nearly half of sufferers feel uncomfortable out in public.
Sally, from Medina Road, Cosham, was not surprised by these figures.
She said: ‘On a few occasions I have had people come up to me and ask why I am parking in a disabled space because they cannot see anything physically wrong with me.
‘I am a fun, happy person but moments like these get me down.
‘Also, I am not very good in big crowds because I try and move out of people’s way but can’t always do it quick enough.
‘I accidently bump into them and they make a fuss of it.’
Sally takes medication to help control the symptoms of Parkinson’s, which enable her to lead as normal a life as possible.
Sally said: ‘If my drugs are working then my life is like any other.
‘I have to rely on them a lot and things can change quite rapidly but I have support groups who you can talk to and share your experiences with. They really do help.’
Steve Ford, chief executive at Parkinson’s UK, said: ‘For people with Parkinson’s to continue living alongside such discrimination is plainly wrong.’
He added: ‘We hope that our campaign will encourage society to dispel some of the lingering fallacies surrounding the condition once and for all.’