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BBC's Gordon Adair has Parkinson's but he also has hope, which is why he gave his daughter that special name

By Victoria O'Hara

BBC journalist Gordon Adair - who was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease four weeks after the birth of his second child - has revealed how he gave his daughter the middle name Hope to inspire him to stay positive.

The BBC Northern Ireland reporter revealed how he descended into "a blackness" for about four months when he was first told the news four years ago.

But the Co Armagh man now refuses to let the degenerative disease, which has touched the lives of millions of people including actor Michael J Fox define him.

"I'm a father, I'm a husband, I am a reporter at the BBC," he said.

Speaking on The Nolan Show, the married father of two spoke of the moment he "lay down on the floor and roared" when trying to cope with the news.

"I was diagnosed four weeks after my second child was born," he said.

He said both he and his wife Denise chose to give their daughters Daisy and Eloise second names.

"Both our children are girls and we gave them both middle names, the ageing hippies that we are. They are supposed to be a guide to how to live," he said.

"The first one's middle name is Grace and my second girl, her second name is Hope."

Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition and most people who get it are aged 60 or over, but younger people such as Gordon can be diagnosed.

He added: "The first thing I read after being diagnosed on the internet was Parkinson's attacks the mind, body and the spirit. There is one thing that treats all three and that's hope. That's very true, you have to live with hope."

But he said it was a tough mental journey to get to the point where he could stay positive about life.

"You hold your four-week-old baby in your arms and you think, 'How am I going to provide for you?' What am I going to do? How am I going to look after you? What is your life going to be like because it is tied to mine, and mine seemed so bleak at that time'."

He spoke about one moment when he struggled to cope with accepting the news he had the incurable disease four years ago.

"I went home, I asked my wife to take the children to Belfast and I lay on the ground and I roared. I tried to accept that here was something I wanted to run away from but I couldn't run away from it. I was stuck with this. And then so then was everyone else whose lives were tied to mine."

Gordon described it as "a blackness" that lasted about four months but said he received support and good advice from family and friends.

"The first one was, don't allow yourself to fall into the trap of 'why me?' which I never have done. Everybody has their problems.

"I remember saying to a lady, it is the uncertainty I can't stand because we don't know how this disease is going to develop, or when it is going to take off. And the person I was speaking to said: 'Anybody who thinks they are living with certainty is kidding themselves. And we all live with uncertainty daily'."

Gordon, who has had to give up his hobby of riding motorbikes, explained that he had to be more forgiving and patient of himself due to the physical difficulties he experienced.

"I had to say okay, it is going to take a little time to do this, I'm not going to be able to do this first time," he said.

He explained that according to experts he could have had the disease for "possibly decades" but is active in searching for a potential cure.

He contacted a Nobel winning scientist in Japan about the debilitating condition and also goes to a research project in Cambridge every six months investigating how stem cells could help in treatment.

But he said he is fortunate that he is in a job that even if he has some physical difficulty he can still do it.

"It's been really important for me to keep going to work," he said.

However, he said he remains positive about the future.

"It may be a little too late for me," he said.

"But if my children were to inherit this, I'd like to think by the time they can reach an age where they could be affected, it'll by confined to history like polio."

"Live with hope and optimism that there will be more effective treatments for those living with it and perhaps someday a cure."

Belfast Telegraph


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