Why is World Parkinson’s Day important?
World Parkinson’s Day is an opportunity to:
- Unite those touched by Parkinson's around the world to highlight the impact Parkinson's Disease has on individuals, families and communities
- Celebrate the fantastic work that people with Parkinson's, and those working in the field, are doing to manage and raise awareness of the disease
- Salute the resilience and strength of people who live with the condition every day
World Parkinson's Day calls on :
- Global leaders to take actions needed to ensure people with Parkinson's get the quality of life they deserve
- National leaders and policy makers to recognise the impact Parkinson's has on the individual, their families and carers and develop appropriate strategies and policies to mitigate these
- Healthcare professionals to keep up to date with latest research and treatment to improve care and services for those with the condition
World Parkinson’s Day – a brief background
The first World Parkinson's Day (WPD) was held in April 1997. It was set up by the European Parkinson’s Disease Association (now known as Parkinson’s Europe) and co-sponsored by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The date commemorates the birthday of Dr James Parkinson.
Dr James Parkinson (1755 – 1824)
Born 11 April 1755, James Parkinson is most famous for his essay ‘An Essay on the Shaking Palsy’ in 1817, which first recognised Parkinson’s as a medical condition.
The inaugural WPD event in 1997 marked the launch of the Parkinson’s Europe Charter, which provided the central focus and opportunity for people with Parkinson's, their families and healthcare professionals to work together to promote awareness and increase the profile of Parkinson's. The Charter gained the support of influential people around the world including UK royals HRH Princess Margaret and Princess Diana, UK prime ministers John Major and Tony Blair, Pope John Paul II, Italian opera singer Luciano Pavarotti and US boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
As a result of WPD 1997, the WHO formed the Working Group on Parkinson’s Disease in May 1997. This led to the development of the first Global Declaration on Parkinson’s Disease launched in Mumbai, India in December 2003 which aimed to encourage a change in attitude towards Parkinson’s.
During the 9th WPD conference held in Luxembourg in 2005, the red tulip was adopted as the official symbol for the disease.
Each year there are now many World Day celebrations around the world as people come together on 11 April to raise awareness of Parkinson’s. Activities include online awareness campaigns, webinars, conferences, wellbeing events, fundraisers and much more.
To read more on the history of WPD, visit this article in our online magazine Parkinson’s Life.
What is 'The Spark'?
In 2022, a host of global Parkinson’s organisations joined forces to develop and launch a new logo for World Parkinson’s Day – dubbed ‘The Spark’. The logo was designed to encourage the Parkinson’s community to speak with one voice and create a universal symbol of Parkinson’s. The Spark is the result of an active collaboration between international Parkinson’s organisations including Parkinson's Europe, PD Avengers, Parkinson’s Foundation, Davis Phinney Foundation, Brian Grant Foundation and Cure Parkinson’s.
The Spark design is inspired by dopamine – the electro-chemical neurotransmitter that people with Parkinson’s are striving to retain. The group of organisations aim for this bolt to energise the Parkinson’s community around a more coordinated annual World Parkinson’s Day event, eventually bringing organisations and individuals together under one recognised umbrella that will lead to greater awareness, impact and ultimately positive change.
Any organisation, individual or group that wants to highlight and support the annual World Parkinson's Day are encouraged to use The Spark on their promotional material for events, campaigns and communications. Organisations are able to select their own colour for The Spark, and more information can be found on The Spark website and The Spark toolkit which contains a variety of resources and logos.
Resources and links to help plan your World Parkinson’s Day campaign
Parkinson’s Europe has developed a World Parkinson’s Day campaign toolkit to help support individuals and groups plan a campaign for World Parkinson’s Day. This toolkit includes a list of past World Parkinson’s Day activities and events which we hope provides ideas for future campaigns.
Click on the image below to download a copy.
To further support your campaign planning, below is a list of useful links and resources:
- Six PE toolkits* covering the following topics:
- Guide to developing an advocacy campaign (Available in both EN and ES)
- Guide to working with social media (Available in EN)
- Guide to organising a Unity Walk (Available in EN)
- Guide to fundraising (Available in EN)
- Guide to working with the treatment industry (Available in EN)
- Guide to working with the media (Available in EN).
- Further resources and links to help inspire your campaign
What is happening on World Parkinson’s Day 2023?
Visit our WPD2023 page to find out what is happening this year, add your event to the online map and come connect with us.