When Dave Howarth was diagnosed with a little-known neurological condition his life was turned upside down.
But now the Horsforth father-of-one is speaking out about his struggle in order to raise awareness and to help others who may be affected.
Dave, 52, was diagnosed with CBD in 2011, after suffering a number of falls. In a particularly bad fall in 2010 he broke multiple discs in his back. He was sent for an operation but also noticed his fingers had started to curl.
After a number of tests he was told he had “something that was like Parkinson’s, but worse”. Shortly after, he was given the diagnosis of CBD.
As a result of his condition, Dave finds it difficult to carry out day-to-day activities. “I get quite frustrated with not being able to do simple things like tie my shoelaces or do up buttons. I have my days where I feel down but luckily for me I enjoy reading, watching films and listening to music so I don’t have to go out much,” he said.
CBD (Cortico Basal Degeneration) is a neurological condition, related to PSP (Progressive Supranuclear Palsy) that directly affects the brain’s cortex. It can also affect other parts of the brain such as the basal ganglia. Symptoms often involve the loss of use in one hand, jerking or slowness of the fingers, eye movements can also be disturbed. Speaking during PSP Association awareness week, Dave described his local support group as a ‘lifeline.’ “I have found solace in the local meetings that I go to in Leeds. Originally I thought it would be the worst thing to possibly do, to see people who are worse than me and what I would eventually become. But it was a revelation for me. I have found friendships and speak to people who understand what I am living with,” he said.
“I am a firm believer in the fact that I have CBD, CBD doesn’t have me.”
The Leeds-based group has more than 20 members attending a monthly meeting.
Dave said: “My advice to people is don’t give up. Use your local meetings, they provide you with vital support networks. They help you to keep going.
“I’m going to Australia soon, and my meeting is on the same day as I fly. I will be attending the meeting and then driving over an hour to the airport. That’s how much the meetings mean to me.”
Visit pspassociation.org.uk for more information about CBD or PSP. The helpline can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0300 0110122