Monday, 30th October 2017

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Indian-origin comic Paul Sinha in UK wins praise for revealing he has Parkinson’s

Sinha came straight to the point in his personal blog: 'On the evening of Thursday May 30th, an experienced consultant neurologist calmly informed me that I had Parkinson’s disease'

By Amit Roy in London
  • Published 16.06.19, 6:52 AM
  • Updated 16.06.19, 6:52 AM
  • 2 mins read
Paul Sinha (Wikimedia Commons)

Bengali-origin comedian Paul Sinha, one of the most popular in the UK after numerous TV appearances, has revealed he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 49 — and has been praised for being so candid with his fans.

Paul, who was born in Britain on May 28, 1970, to parents from Calcutta, initially became a doctor in the 1990s after being educated at Dulwich College, a well-known public school (which produced P.G. Wodehouse) and St George’s Hospital Medical School. He turned to comedy and is now a familiar figure on television.

He came straight to the point in his personal blog: “On the evening of Thursday May 30th, an experienced consultant neurologist calmly informed me that I had Parkinson’s disease.

“It was a devastating denouement to a medical odyssey that began in September 2017 with a sudden-onset, frozen right shoulder, and took in an unexpected diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, a lifestyle transformation that enabled me to lose two stone, and a shoulder operation in January this year.”

Parkinson’s disease is described as “a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years. The three main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are: involuntary shaking of particular parts of the body (tremor), slow movement, and stiff and inflexible muscles.”

Steve Ford, chief executive of Parkinson’s UK, praised his decision to speak out: “Paul Sinha bravely speaking about his Parkinson’s diagnosis, and the journey he has been on to get to this point, will do so much to raise awareness of this much misunderstood condition.

“With more than 40 symptoms, Parkinson’s undoubtedly throws up new challenges, but with the right treatment and support we can help people to take control of their lives with this unpredictable condition.

“Paul’s determination to live well with Parkinson’s is mirrored by an incredibly passionate Parkinson’s community, determined both to find new and better treatments but also to not let Parkinson’s hold them back. We wish Paul all the best with his future projects.”

Paul added in his blog that following the diagnosis, “my reaction was not one of shock. I spent May this year in New Zealand simultaneously having the comedy month of my life, and worrying about why a right-sided limp was now getting worse. Behind the facade of the cheerful, late night comedy festival drunk was a man deeply scared about facing the truth when back in the UK.

“It has been a really, really tough two weeks. Cancelling my run at the Edinburgh Fringe, missing the World Quizzing Championships to have brain scans, performing club sets whilst emotionally bewildered, and of course working my way through my loved ones, delivering the bad news.

“With the diagnosis now confirmed, and a treatment plan in place, I now feel far more prepared for the new challenges ahead. I have an amazing family, no strangers to serious medical illness, I’m blessed to have a fiancée who is there for me, and I have a multitude of friends and colleagues whom I consider to be exceptional human beings. I don’t consider myself unlucky, and whatever the next stage of my life holds for me, many others have it far worse.

“In the time since my Parkinson’s started I have been ludicrously busy, and fully intend to keep Chasing (a TV programme), keep writing and performing comedy, keep quizzing and keep being hopeless at Tasks. Dancing on Ice is, I suspect, out of the question.

“A lot of people have asked, ‘What can I do to help?’, the answer is to treat me exactly the same as before. Much love, Paul.”