Glasgow, city of hope and determination (WPC2010)

 By first glance, Glasgow might seem like just another city anywhere in the world, with its downtown glass-clad buildings and shopping area.

By the way, how come the Swedish clothes brand that used to be considered really low quality and that no-one in my first grade class would be caught dead in is all over the world these days? And speaking of low quality, would you believe that IKEA had the exact same reputation around that time (1978-ish)? It is two amazing success stories and I wear H&M as well as have a lot of IKEA furniture at home these days without blushing with shame. If PD was only a fraction as well known as H&M and IKEA, awareness wouldn’t really be an issue, would it…?

Anyway, back to Glasgow: Monday was spent exploring the city, Annika, Lars and me going in and out of shops. It seems a common trait for men all around the world that they by far prefer the Apple store to H&M. As for myself, I don’t discriminate like that, and late afternoon, I returned to my hotel, the very satisfied owner of an iPad. And then they say you can’t buy happiness…

Tuesday was the beginning of congress with the pre-congress courses on three different levels, where we learned “the fundamentals of PD”. The evening came and so did a very impressive opening ceremony. As far as I’m concerned, as long as there’s pipes and drums, I will like it. There are few things as pleasant to the eye as men in kilts…
After that the congress really took off and I realised that time does go faster when you are enjoying yourself.

The week in Glasgow was an overwhelming experience with a lot of emotional moments. I didn’t attend as many sessions as I thought I would, for reasons like prioritising having coffee with a new-found friend, catching up on some sleep or simply hanging out in The Cure Parkinson’s Trust’s stand. However, I don’t regret missing sessions, because what will really stay in my mind is meeting the fantastic people there, PWP, researchers and others. It was amazing to experience the hope, dedication and determination of the whole PD community.

I will never forget:

•    Bryn’s speech at the opening ceremony. If you haven’t read it yet, check it out on Bryn’s blog. “The fierce urgency of now…”, I still get goose bumps…

•    The scientific session where Roger Barker was talking about stem cells and other future treatments. I think that maybe a few researchers were disappointed with the level of it, but I think the PWP attending was very thankful for the crash course in future therapies. He really chose the exact right level!

•    The Brain Game quiz on Friday, arranged by The Cure Parkinson’s Trust. As a Swede, I had never heard of Tony Hawks hitching round Ireland with a fridge, but he did a very good job hosting it all the same. And I’m sorry Tony, but to me the bigger celebrity in the room was Dr Stanley Fahn, the man who diagnosed Muhammed Ali with PD.

For me, Glasgow will forever be the city of hope and determination and I’m already looking forward to the next WPC: October 2013 in Montreal, Canada.

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