Diagnosed four years ago, Ruth is still doing pretty well and participating in Parkinson’ UK activities.  Her volunteering for the chairty includes speaker secretary and committee membr of the West Herts Branch, and of course membership of the East of England Research Group.  She is not a scientist and her background is firmly in the area of communication.  With a PhD in propaganda (18th century style) she is wary of any writing that is not clear and accessible to its intended audience. So her aim in the Group is to encourage researchers to think about the words and other communication tools they are using to get their message to the Parkinson’s lay community..  She also sits with other Parkinson’s people on the University of Hertfordshire Dance Psychology Lab steering committee who are working on the effects of music on the condition.

Headlining with our very own Dr Ruth Herman who introduced this years lecture – read about her experience below…

Gretchen Amphlett Lecture 2018

Dr Ruth Herman introduction

“Having been asked to introduce the scientists  at the Gretschen Amphlett lecture this year (which was a bit of a surprise) I was faced with finding five minutes of words suitable for an audience who really only wanted to hear the people working towards a cure and not some random specialist in 18th century propaganda.  The answer (to me anyway) was to go back to the roots and reference the good Dr Parkinson himself. This seemed to go down quite well.  Whether or not they needed the quotes from The Pilgrim’s Progress is more difficult to judge but nobody complained.  But I have to say it was a real honour and it was really good to meet up with the lovely people who run Parkinsons Uk (and that is not being smarmy, they really do work hard).  It was an atmospheric venue and walking across the grass on an unusually balmy evening added to the occasion. What people don’t know and I can now reveal is that my appalling sense of direction made  me drive round the college twice before I managed to find the carpark.  This is not the Parkinson’s effect. It is my inability to follow the instructions from the lady in the SatNav.”

“What is yet to emerge is the interview I did with Simon Stott which I am assured was going to be edited and put on YouTube.  This may yet appear or it may have been abandoned if I took on the mantle of Paxman too seriously and intimidated the unfortunate Dr Stott. We shall see.  What I would say and I do believe is that it is important to grasp these opportunities with both hands when they arrive. I really enjoyed the evening and although while I was driving to Cambridge I did ask myself what I was letting myself in for – but you can only do your best and I have had some kind words on my performance.  What can I add?  There was a surreal moment when I was talking to the Director of Fundraising and mentioned my daughter saying that there was no way that he would know her.  It turns  out that they have spent hours at Parkinson’s events cycling alongside each other. There was also the moment that Steve Ford said that he would visit our branch – I must remind him to do so. ”

“So if any of you get asked to do the introduction to the lecture at some time in the future, say yes.  It was a really positive experience and I think such moments are well worth collecting”

The lecture can be found on Parkinsons UK YouTube Channel:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxoKOWvCwDU&feature=youtu.be