The Simple Helps Are Big Helps

Sherri Woodbridge avatar

by Sherri Woodbridge |

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Sherri Journeying Through

Some people’s reactions to a person with a disability can be disheartening. They stare, make thoughtless comments, point fingers, or whisper. Some people don’t know how to handle a person who has an obvious disease, disability, or illness. They may be uncomfortable around one who is disabled, which can make the disabled feel uncomfortable.

A report by ABC News last August shared the story of a Walmart cashier in Michigan who went out of her way to make a customer feel a little more comfortable, a little more “normal,” with a simple, selfless act: She painted her customer’s fingernails.

That may not seem like a big deal to some, but for those with a disability like cerebral palsy or Parkinson’s disease, it’s a very big deal.

Angela Peters, the customer, shared her story with Ebony Harris, the Walmart cashier. The story went something like this:

Somehow, Ebony heard of Angela being refused service at a nail salon due to her cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy, like Parkinson’s disease, can cause tremors and involuntary movement of the limbs. Ebony took action, using her break to paint Angela’s nails. The two women set off to choose the perfect color, a sparkly shade of blue, and then seated themselves at the in-store Subway sandwich shop.

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Ebony was just doing something simple and kind for another human being, something that most of us can do for ourselves, and yet, sometimes we can’t. Our illness takes away our ability to do something that seems so small and insignificant to others. A friend of mine told me the other day that after having her toenails cut, her feet felt so much better and her toes didn’t hurt anymore. She isn’t able to cut her own nails because she can’t bend over far enough to do it. 

I wonder, with the holidays approaching at lightning speed, if perhaps some nail pampering is the perfect gift to give a loved one. Actually, why wait? We can be like Ebony and give a gift of kindness any time, starting today. Starting now.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

Comments

Patricia Duus avatar

Patricia Duus

My brother-in law is very uncomfortable with my husband who has Parkinson's. My husband has had it for 10 years and is in really good shape, he walks, does Big and Loud therapy, and boxes ( Rock Steady for Parkinson's. My brother in law is super fit and cannot deal with my husband's disability. I think he cannot handle the idea of getting weak. Both guys are over 70. I cannot handle the condescending tone of voice and what is said. He means well, but it is awful. What do I do?

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Sherri Woodbridge avatar

Sherri Woodbridge

Hi Patricia - I’m sorry to hear about your struggle with your brother-in-law. Have you tried talking to him and sharing how you feel? I would start there and perhaps having someone with you for support who understands what is happening. If he means well, as you say, perhaps he doesn’t really understand what he’s doing or how it’s coming across. Good luck.

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Sheila Barrows avatar

Sheila Barrows

I have been taking Vital Stem, an advanced stem cell activator from Live Cell Research for over a year. I always feel better the day after I take it, and one PD symptom it helps with is constipation. Usually it improves the problem the next day. Before I started taking it, I checked with my physician, who said it wouldn't hurt me, with the unspoken "or help you." I wonder if other PD sufferers have used it and found helpful.

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