COMMEMORATING 200 YEARS OF PARKINSON'S & CEREMONIAL GROUND BREAKING FOR UNIVERSITY OF MALAYA PARKINSON'S CENTRE
About 550 participants mainly comprising patients with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers came together at the Conference Hall in South Tower, University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) on 4 November 2017 for the 5th annual University of Malaya (UM) – Malaysian Parkinson’s Disease Association (MPDA) Parkinson Patient Day 2017. The event is primarily to pay tribute to patients and caregivers who have taken part in various research projects at UM over the years. Awards and gifts are presented, and the event presents a great opportunity to make new friends and happy memories.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease affecting the brain and in many instances causes substantial physical as well as mental disability. Any reprieve from this disease, even if only temporary, is meaningful and many patients and caregivers have enjoyed these friendly half-day gatherings. As before, updates were presented by UM Parkinson's Neurologists Professor Dr. Lim Shen-Yang and Dr. Tan Ai Huey on the latest advances in the field, and also specifically how research at UM has helped to advance our understanding of PD. This was followed by a research update by UM geneticist Dr. Azlina Ahmad Annuar and a “Dance with Parkinson” session by dance therapist Mr. Mike Voon. A panel of patients, caregivers, and PD experts also came together onstage to share their experiences in a session titled “The Journey Together”. These sessions were well-received and provided useful insights into the care and wellbeing of patients with Parkinson’s and related disorders.
The event this year was especially meaningful for two additional reasons. First, 2017 marks 200 years since PD was first characterized in detail by the English physician Dr. James Parkinson. Second, a ceremonial ground-breaking for a dedicated PD Centre at UM was held in conjunction with this event. The establishment of this Centre has been made possible by generous donations from the Dato' Tan Chin Nam Foundation (RM5 million, towards a building) and the Dato' Seri Mah Pooi Soo Benevolent Fund (RM4 million, to help fund the clinical and research activities of the PD team). The Dean of Faculty of Medicine UM, Dato’ Professor Dr. Adeeba Kamarulzaman and the Hospital Deputy Director (Clinical) of UMMC, Associate Professor Dr. Nazirah Hasnan, in both their speeches, expressed utmost appreciation to the Donors and emphasized the importance of philanthropic contributions to the growth of the University and Hospital. Dato’ Tan Chin Nam together with his daughter Ms. Tan Lei Cheng were present to perform the ceremonial ground breaking, witnessed by members of the Board of Trustees for the PD Centre chaired by Professor Dato’ Dr. Tan Chong Tin and other University and Hospital leaders.