Parkylife, which is being led by Manchester’s Havas Lynx Group, brings together a combination of stories, hacks, perks and profiles of inspiring folk who have achieved great things despite their diagnosis.
It has been designed by ‘Parky’ people to provide a positive and optimistic outlook on adapting to life with the disease, which affects more than 145,000 people in the UK.
Industry-leading illustrators and creatives, including the likes of Stan Chow, Cachete Jack, Linzie Hunter, Biff, Shotopop and Alva Skog, have so far thrown their support and creativity behind the project, whilst Parkinson’s UK and The Cure Parkinson’s Trust have also added their support.
“I was travelling from London on the train one evening and I saw a guy twitching and writhing about. The more he tried to hide it the worse it got. I said, ‘Don’t worry, I know exactly how you feel. I do the same, I have Parkinson’s’,” explained Matt Eagles, Parkinson’s Advocate and Head of Patient Engagement at Havas Lynx Group.
“Strangely his shakes began to subside – it was almost as if a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders. I smiled at him and said, ‘Parkinson’s isn’t the end of the world, you can turn potentially awkward situations to your advantage you know’.”
He continued: “All the way back home I was thinking how terrible that moment of diagnosis must have been for him and how frightened he looked on the train. I wondered if we could help him and others see Parkinson’s in a different light – and Parkylife was born.”
Employing over 350 people across offices in London and Manchester, Havas Lynx Group took the lead on the project, working with Matt to create a website, start conversations on Instagram and launch a free T-Shirt that could help spread the message.
To make diagnosis less terrifying, it also worked with the illustrators to create a simple pack of 52 cards, each showcasing slices of positivity that can be tapped into whenever patients needed a boost.
These range from built in jazz hands and free seats on the bus to having a massive libido triggered by treatment.
Matt added: “Parkylife isn’t just a pack of cards with advice on…it’s a way of living positively with chronic illness, its unique, it’s never been done before and it’s changing the way people with Parkinson’s view their lives.”
Shotopop, one of the 50 illustrators who gave up their time for free, continued: “Parkylife was such a unique brief – to take a light-hearted approach on such a serious topic was inspiring and we didn’t need any excuse to make the world a slightly less serious place!
“We’re sure people living with Parkinson’s will love to see relatable, heart-warming moments from other people’s lives.”
Another of the illustrators, Linzie Hunter also expressed her support: “I was honoured to be able to create and contribute artwork to the Parkylife project. I’ve been inspired, warmed and impressed by both the strength and humour of those living with Parkinson’s and by the stories and advice shared within the campaign.”
Parkylife, which was launched on World Parkinson’s Day, also features portraits of famous Parky people, such as Vicar of Dibley co-writer Paul Mayhew-Archer, actor Alan Alda and comedian Billy Connolly.