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£20,000 appeal for stem cell treatment to help get Stratford woman’s life back

THERE are good days and bad days, but Linda Hassett is determined to be as bright as she can while coping with Parkinson’s.

Simple tasks like walking, cooking and even enjoying a conversation have become daily challenges for Stratford-based Linda, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in her early 60s.

It’s been a cruel blow to her freedom of movement and lifestyle because Linda, who turns 72 on 17th March, has always kept herself fit playing netball and swimming, and doesn’t drink or smoke.

“I’m able to enjoy Pilates which has helped my mobility tremendously, but I’ve now reached the stage where I feel I need to look further afield for treatments,” Linda told the Herald. “Stem cell therapy would give me back enough mobility for me to be able to swim again but as you can imagine it is expensive and I have set-up a crowdfunding page with a lot of help from my family.”

Linda Hassett has lived with Parkinson’s disease for years. Photo: Mark Williamson
Linda Hassett has lived with Parkinson’s disease for years. Photo: Mark Williamson

She has lived in Stratford all her life, went to Shottery Primary School and then the girls’ high school before she trained as a hairdresser at the age of 15. She retired when she was 65.

Linda has been married to Derick, 72, for 52 years and the couple have a son and twin girls, plus five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

“I’m seeing a specialist in Coventry and I have a weakness in my right arm and right-hand side, so you have to learn to adapt,” said Linda. “I also experience freezing where I want to move my body but the bottom half stands still.

“I’ve given up driving and have to rely on lifts and sometimes things can take twice as long and that is irritating. I’ve got such a lovely family and they are very kind to me and are always there to help.”

The stem cell treatment comes at a significant cost and might involve travel and accommodation costs plus additional medical expenses, so the target is £20,000

Linda added that if she doesn’t reach the target, she will donate what she does raise to Parkinson’s UK.

“Despite the setbacks, I refuse to give up,” Linda said. “I’ve researched and found promising advancements in stem cell therapy that offer hope for Parkinson’s patients like myself. Stem cell treatment has shown remarkable potential in slowing down the progression of the disease and even improving motor function. I’m hoping people’s generosity can be the difference between a life constrained by Parkinson’s and one filled with renewed hope and possibility.”

On her fundraising page Linda says: “Parkinson’s may have shaken me, but it hasn’t shattered my spirit. With your kindness and generosity, I believe we can turn the tide against this disease and reclaim the life I’ve worked so hard to build.

“Thank you for standing by my side and being a beacon of hope in my darkest hours. Together, let’s make a difference. With heartfelt gratitude.”

To support Linda, visit here.

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