Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Raising Walk 2015

Early morning November 1, 2015 about 200 people gathered on Tewodros Square. Spearheading this gathering was the founder of Parkinson’s Patient Support Organization Ethiopia, Kibra Kebede. She was coordinating who gets what kind of T-shirts as there different T shirts for patients, volunteers and invited guests. Then, the Federal Police Marching Band arrived in three buses and started assembing their instruments, spectators started gathering to see whats going on, its not everyday that you see the federal police marching band.

The agenda for the day was being distributed, the program was going to start at 9:00 AM in the morning, everyone seemed excited especially the presence of the marching band made the whole environment lighter and more cheerful.

The banner for the event states; We Exist, which was very relevant for the parkinson patients in ethiopia, since most people in ethiopia didn’t know about Parkinson’s disease, most people associate the disease with evil spirits and most of the patients are shunned in thier communities. Recently, thanks to the effort of the Parkinson Patients Support Organization Ethiopia, this disease has been getting a lot of coverage and people are now starting to recognize the patients and sending them to the organization to get the support that they deserve.

The awareness raising walk started exactly on time at 9:00 in the morning with young people carrying the banner and the ethiopian flag leading the way, then the Federal Police Marching Band producing great ethiopian oldies tunes and followed by patients and all the other participants of the walk.

The end destination for the walk was Ethio-Cuba Friendship square, where a tent was assembled and waiting for the participants of the walk, a lot of spectators were gathering and joining the walk or taking pictures, simultaneously the walk was being covered on three of the largest media outlets in the country Sheger FM 102.1, FM 98.1 and Bisrat FM 101.1.

Finally, the walk reached its destination and the participants of the walk gathered in and around the tent. The master of ceremony started the event off and introduced the group of amazing people giving speeches for the day. The speeches started with Kibra Kebede, who talked about how the disease affects her and why she was motivated to start this organization, the next was an emotionally fueled speech by the daughter of the founder of Parkinson Patients Support Organization Ethiopia, Lea Mehari. She talked about her family experience with the disease and the role of care givers in improving the life of the patients. The next speaker was Doctor Yohannes who is a Neurologist working in Tikur Anbessa and Zewditu Hospitals, he talked about the medical and psychological effects of the disease and the current treatments for the disease. The last speaker for the day was Doctor Molla, who was representative from the ministry of Health, He talked about how he got to know about parkinson’s disease and that he will support the organization in any way that the government can.

Before we left the gathering and the walk ended, we stood together to sing our national anthem with the Federal Police Marching band, the master of ceremony thanked all the gathered guests and the people that made the walk possible and thus ended one of the best sunday mornings for Parkinson Patiens and all their families.