At the age of 29, Emma received a diagnosis she hadn’t expected.
“In 2013 I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s,” she says. “It was the last thing I expected it to be when my hand started feeling weak. I was just 29 and Parkinson’s was something people’s grandmas got, right?”
Since her diagnosis, Emma has made it her mission to raise awareness by sharing her story. She has been in a BBC2 Documentary where the clip went viral, she’s given 5 TED Talks, and last year she video blogged her life for 365 days.
This year she’s embarking on a project called ‘The F—it List’. It’s simple, yet has already been having a positive impact on her: Do something new each day. Do it with someone else. Document it.
Every day in 2019 Emma will be doing something new every day and blogging about it. Her aim is to not only raise awareness of Parkinson’s but to prove that no matter who you are and what else you have going on in your life you can have adventures and invest in yourself.
Emma will share each adventure with a different person, from close friends and family members to other people with Parkinson’s, to VIP’s like Parkinson’s UK Patron Jane Asher, digital champion Sue Black OBE and TV presenter Steph McGovern.
“I normally dread January,” she says. “All my friends go into hibernation and it can be lonely. But not this year. I really believe that positivity is a huge part of living with a long-term health condition (or really just living!) and what better way to feel that than by having a TRYJanuary.”
Things haven’t been easy for Emma since her diagnosis. “In 2017, my neck muscles began to weaken and my head dropped,” she recalls. “After a long-haul flight from America my neck inexplicably started bothering me. It suddenly felt painful and weak and lying on the floor was the only thing that eased it. Over the next year the discomfort got worse and I was left looking at the ground. Getting around became difficult and my world that once expanded now shrunk to smaller than it had ever felt before.”
Determined to make 2019 a great year, Emma planned her new project. “In 2019 I want to open my world back up,” Emma says. “I realised that if my world had expanded once before it could do the same again. I just needed to invest some time in myself and my happiness, something we really don’t do enough of.”
Emma’s attitude is something we can all learn from. “Why reserve bucket lists for when you know you’re dying,” she asks. “LIVE NOW, to the full, try everything. You don’t have to give up your job to be an adventurer. You can stretch your horizons in your lunch hour.”
You can follow Emma’s adventures here.