Raffle Prizes Sought for PSP Coffee Morning

A coffee morning on Wednesday, Oct. 24 in Pittenweem Church Hall will raise money to help in the fight against PSP — Progressive Supranuclear Palsy — a progressive neurological condition with debilitating and deadly effects. The fun and food-friendly event begins at 10am, and entry is £2.50.

Elizabeth Birrell has been involved in raising money for the PSP Association since her husband Ian was diagnosed with the condition, and passed away from it on October 7, 2014. Her efforts have been impressive and the support from the East Neuk community heart-warming, as more than £73,000 has been raised in just a few years. Ian, a man known for his humour, his open heart and generous spirit, arranged to donate his spinal column and brain at his death for research purposes — a magnificent bequest enabling researchers to learn even more about the disease.

Prizes for the raffle drawing at the coffee morning are being sought. Hampers, wine, spirits, restaurant / food vouchers, “freebies”, decorative/house/garden items and more are all being sought for the raffle. Please contact Elizabeth at 310451 or email her at elizbirrell@hotmail.co.uk if you’d like to make a donation for the raffle.

WHAT IS PSP? and what does it have to do with Dudley Moore?

The PSP Association estimates there are around 4,000 people with PSP living in the UK, but it could be as many as 10,000 due to mis-diagnosis.  Dudley Moore, the well-known UK comedienne and movie star, developed PSP at a time when it was virtually unknown. His symptoms made people think he was drunk all the time as he had trouble with speech, movement, and balance. The truth of this devastating illness eventually came out after his death.

PSP occurs when brain cells in certain parts of the brain are damaged by a build-up of a protein called tau. In people with PSP, it isn’t broken down properly and forms harmful clumps in brain cells. Movement, control of walking (gait) and balance, speech, swallowing, vision, mood and behavior, and thinking are all affected in no particular order as they decline due to the brain’s nerve damage.

There’s no single test for PSP, and currently there is no cure for PSP. Instead, the diagnosis is based on the pattern of symptoms, as the doctor tries to rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, such as Parkinson’s disease. The disease gets progressively worse, with people becoming severely disabled within three to five years of onset. Affected individuals are predisposed to serious complications such as pneumonia, choking, head injury, and fractures. The most common cause of death is pneumonia. With good attention to medical and nutritional needs, individuals with PSP may possibly live a decade or more after the first symptoms of the disease.