Thursday, 3 October 2013

What I said

Yesterday, I  had the honour of opening the scientific sessions of the WPC, as I stood up to begin the plenary session. Many since asked me for a copy of what I said.

So here it is:

Welcome to the first plenary session of the Third World Parkinson congress. Bonjour tout le monde Parkinson et bienvenue a Montreal.

I’m Jon Stamford and it is my pleasure to co-chair with Prof Tom Gasser this session on why specific neurons die in Parkinson’s and what can be done about it.
I am a neuroscientist by training. But, since 2006, I'm also a person with Parkinson's. And it’s in this capacity that I have been asked to say a few words on behalf of the patient community and also to the community..

Last night, Bob Kuhn mentioned hope in his opening address. For me, science is the practical embodiment of that hope. Science is the expression of aspiration. Science is the vocabulary of hope and science is the roadmap to victory in this war on Parkinson's.

And this is a war. Make no mistake. For many of us with Parkinson’s, this is a very real fight to the death. But you also need to know one thing. This is a war that our enemy cannot win. We will prevail. It's not a case of if we win, it’s a case of when we win. 

And this is not a fight for others to win on our behalf. This requires a very real and personal commitment. It requires us to fight every inch of the battlefield for every minute of the battle. We fight for ourselves but also for our brothers and sisters who can no longer fight. And we fight for those who do not yet know they will have to fight. And know this - the scientists stand shoulder to shoulder with us in this fight.

I firmly believe that we will be the generation that will see Parkinson’s beaten. And it is conferences like this with its wonderful span of the whole community where we will find those insights.
WPC is special. There is a buzz. There's a sense in the air that something is going to happen there is something we will make this conference memorable. It may be the company of good friends, the new scientific discoveries or new clinical trials. But this congress will not leave you unchanged.  And maybe, just maybe, this conference will be the one that sets us on the road to a cure.  

The title of this session is a distillate of everthing about Parkinson’s. So today, we have four superb speakers who will report from their part of the battlefield

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