Parkinson’s therapy centre in Surat

Dr Pooja Bansal taking a group physiotherapy ­session at the Parkinson’s Disease Therapy Centre.

To support those battling ­Parkinson’s disease, RC Surat East, RID 3060, in partnership with B K Parekh Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Society, inaugurated a therapy centre at the Unity Hospital, Surat, last year. The Parkinson’s Disease Therapy Centre is changing lives. One of the beneficiaries, Mahendra Shah, a 57-year-old former textiles salesman, was diagnosed with this nervous system disorder that affects body movement.

Once known for his “keen eye for colours, fabric and the ability to connect with customers,” Shah noticed subtle changes in his body a few years ago. “A slight tremor in my right hand and a stiffness in movements began to interfere with my work. Initially, I thought these changes were due to fatigue, but I consulted a doctor when the symptoms persisted,” he recalls. The diagnosis was devastating. “I was worried about my future. Selling clothes was all I knew. How would I support my family?” Despite the initial shock, he resolved not to let ­Parkinson’s dictate his life. While conventional treatments helped manage his symptoms, they had side effects like headache and vomiting, besides the high costs.

Fortunately he saw an advertisement in a local newspaper about the Parkinson’s Disease Therapy ­Centre, which offers free treatment for the underprivileged. “I signed up for the treatment. The support and therapies have significantly improved the quality of my life,” he says. ­Jagdish Vaghasiya, past president of RC Surat East, said the centre was set up at a cost of ₹50,000, fully funded by the club. “We didn’t have to look for space as the centre is housed inside the Unity Hospital.”

The club contributes ₹12,000 monthly for maintenance, and the B K Parekh Society pays the staff salaries. Since inception, the therapy centre is treating over 100 patients through monthly consultations with neurosurgeons, various therapies including physiotherapy, speech, music, cognitive and occupational therapies, and psychological counselling. They also conduct social activities like picnics, Diwali, Holi celebrations and a World Parkinson’s Day event on April 11. Dr Hetashri Patel and Dr Pooja Lohia, physiotherapists, manage the administration and health services.

Partnership with Rotaract

Participants at the marathon flag off.

The club and its RAC Surat East organised a marathon, Rotary ­Sanjivani, to promote women’s empowerment and cervical cancer awareness. With over 2,100 participants the marathon featured 10km, 5km and 2km runs. DG Nihir Dave flagged off the runs. ­Simultaneously, the clubs hosted Cyclofun, a cycle rally to ­promote environmental ­conservation. The event saw over 400 participants cycling across 5, 10 and 15km.

Project Rotary Sanjivani was also a fundraiser for other ­initiatives including stress relief centres in Surat, de-addiction programmes for college and school students, free medical services for the ­handicapped, and the Parkinson’s therapy centre.

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