Meet the Team
Par-Con has been designed from scratch in partnership with a team of volunteers living with Parkinson’s. This fantastic steering group has shaped every aspect of the event, from the name and look-and-feel, to setting the agenda and planning the sessions.
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Hello, I'm Laurel Miller. I was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2014 and joined the Research Support Network soon afterwards. I have taken part in a number of trials and currently I'm a member of the Research Participation Steering Group, which seeks to break down barriers to people with Parkinson’s participating in research. I welcomed the opportunity to help plan this year's conference as I wanted to see if it could become an event that shares existing research findings with people with Parkinson’s, to enable them to take more control of their lives. My hope is that people with Parkinson’s, their families, friends and health practitioners will learn things that help us all to live better lives for longer.
I retired as professor of safety science in the Netherlands in 2014, at the same time as I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD). After going through stages of denial, anger, and despair, not knowing what to do with a disease that I was told had no cure, I decided to tackle it with the tools I had learned in my professional life of risk analysis and management. I had the good luck to be asked to join the working group to prepare the Par-Con 2021 conference in October 2021. I hope the conference will offer me a clear picture of how far we really are (or are not) in understanding, controlling, and preventing PD; what are the research, publicity, and management actions we should be taking to make progress and what are the skills and knowledge we need to deploy.
I retired some years ago from the NHS where I was a Consultant Radiologist with a research interest in gastrointestinal radiology and an Honorary Professor in Imperial School of Medicine. I claim no expertise in Parkinsons, but the practical experience of living with it for ten years has concentrated the mind, or what is left of it, on the complexities of its management. It is a pleasure to do what I can to help the Charity in its aims to support us in research and teaching.
After 35 years in the food industry and a further 15 years in non-exec roles, coaching and consultancy, I finally retired a year ago. The intention was to focus on playing more golf and bridge and to travel to far-off places. This last has been ‘covid postponed.’ In marketing and general management roles I have been involved with some famous brands owned by major groups: Cadbury’s, Bisto, Sharwoods, McDougalls, Sara Lee, Ski, Fox’s and Marks & Spencer. By contrast, my consultancy/coaching has given me valuable insight into smaller, often family run enterprises in a range of industries including domestic fuel supply, manufacturers of furniture, springs and ceramic tiles, and financial and legal services. I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s over ten years ago and for most of the time have been involved with Parkinson's UK as a lay grant reviewer; more recently I’ve had the fun of working with the team who have put Par-Con 2021 together.
I am a retired university lecturer of 25 years teaching research methodology to healthcare professionals. I am also an author of a research book published by Sage Publications in 2013. My diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease in 2015 has resulted in tremors on the non-dominant side of my body, but I am doing everything I can to balance my physical and psychosocial health to prevent my condition worsening. My hobbies such as yoga, meditation, swimming and painting along with my part time care work help me in so many ways. As Chair of the South East of England Research Interest Group, I communicate with over 20 local Parkinson’s groups in Kent and East Sussex via meetings, events and conferences. The planning committee has put together an exciting programme for this year’s Research Support Network Conference (PAR-CON). It focuses on updating the research community on the most current and innovative Parkinson’s research. I look forward to seeing you there.
Having sold our furniture making business in 2014, my wife and I now live in Shropshire where we have just completed a barn conversion. Another project is on the horizon! I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2013 and once I’d come to terms with the news, I decided that collaborating with research projects would be a good way of helping to find new treatments and maybe even a cure one day. Being part of the team developing Par-Con has been a rewarding experience and I hope the conference will help spread the word about Parkinson’s and the work being carried out by dedicated professionals everywhere.
I live in the far North of Scotland 20 miles to the west of John O’Groats. I am a retired analytical chemist. I now enjoy the countryside in the North of Scotland and pre-COVID enjoyed traveling around Europe. I have a small part time job walking dogs which also helps my exercise regime! I am a member of our local Parkinson’s Support Group, the North of Scotland Parkinson’s Research Interest Group, and act as a Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) volunteer. I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 3 and a half years ago.
I joined Parkinson’s UK as a Patient and Public Involvement Volunteer in December 2019, a couple of years after my Mum’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s. The role has been incredibly fulfilling, as it has allowed me to contribute to research while providing me with an insight into the valuable work taking place to improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s. I volunteered to work on the Research Support Network Conference following a background in organising academic events and have found the experience of collaborating with such a great team hugely rewarding.