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These days, World Parkinson's Day is celebrated around the globe, with initiatives to spread awareness, unite the community and honour those suffering. The day is often marked by campaigns, well-being events, educating and inspiring people worldwide.
One such person was Josh Swinnerton, who was inspired to found MedAdvisor after witnessing his mum, Viv, who had Arthritis and Parkinson's disease, simultaneously juggle 10 medications.
Today, the MedAdvisor app is used by millions of people around the world for similar reasons.
"I have been using MedAdvisor since its inception. I have always found it to be extremely useful, especially for those of us that take more than 13 different medications a day and at differing times." writes an iOS user.
With a software engineering background, he developed a platform that made life with multiple prescriptions and medications easier. This included notifying her when she needed a refill, when to take medication, and when she was running low on a specific medication.
“It seemed a really obvious, sensible thing to do with a smartphone – especially given these days you have a powerful bit of technology that’s always with you," Josh recalled.
With that, MedAdvisor was launched, providing convenient medication access for patients and families alike so that everyone could get the care they needed.
Labelling the journey as "heartnening," Swinnerton explains that "Compared to working in the finance sector or something, it feels good to be having that kind of positive benefit on something as important as their health."
"I was on multiple pain medications, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, blood thinner injections, multiple vitamins and my usual epilepsy medication. My mother was having to constantly go and get my medication and when I needed my dose adjusted my pharmacist would ring my GP to discuss. In the end, my pharmacist suggested we download MedAdvisor as a way of managing all of my different medications," explains Ashlee B. "The app has been incredible … a life-changer for me. It makes life easier and much more manageable.
Today, hundreds of heads come together to find innovative and practical ways to help millions of people worldwide manage multiple medications, so they can focus on living.
"The office is covered in whiteboards," admits Swinnerton.
The World Parkinson's Day is celebrated on April 11 every year, to commemorate the birthday of Dr James Parkinson, the man who wrote 'An Essay on the Shaking Palsy' in 1817, the piece that first recognised Parkinson's as a medical condition.
The day is important both historically and currently, as it provides a moment for community members around the globe to come together in solidarity. Raising awareness of the effects of Parkinson's is a key part of fighting the disease, so it is important to annually mark the fight and recognise both the strength of the community and its ongoing needs.
Many organisations are working globally to bring awareness to Parkinson's disease. Events include campaigns, fundraisers and talks to promote understanding and increase support for the community. Some notable organisations working to make a difference include Parkinson's Europe and Fight Parkinson's in Australia.
Believing that "support and information can make a significant and positive difference to the lives of those living with Parkinson's, their families and carers," Fight Parkinson's focuses on health information, advice and services.
According to the organisation, 219,000 Australians, including 57,000 Victorians, live with Parkinson's, the world's fastest-growing neurological disease.
"We want to ensure greater understanding of the deep impact of Parkinson's that goes beyond shaking so the disease is taken seriously by decision makers, and to help reduce the stigma associated with some of the symptoms," explains Emma Collin, the CEO of Fight Parkinson’s.
Every contribution towards increased understanding worldwide helps support the Parkinson's community. An idea born of helping the Parkinson's community can spread to help the whole health industry, as in MedAdvisor's story, where the commitment to helping his mother led Swinnerton to revolutionise pharmaceutical access.
With the app, patients, just like Swinnerton's mum as well as their loved ones, can take back control and make medication one less thing to worry about. It combines a powerful app designed to help people take and track medications with digital-first pharmacy tools and educational content that improves health literacy and medication adherence.
If you are interested in getting involved in World Parkinson's Day this year, check out Parkinson's Australia's list of events happening around Australia. Opportunities include:
Wherever you're based, there are sure to be many ways to get involved in your area or online. No matter how you choose to support and honour World Parkinson's Day, your participation can make a difference.Try for yourself & download the app for free today!