News ArchivesRead News

Hollywood star is right behind campaign

Thursday December 15, 2005

12 December 2005(Norwich Evening News) - One may be a Hollywood star and the other a DJ from Mulbarton but they are both the same age and both determined to fight the same neurological disease.

It was, therefore, only logical that DJ Trevor Mills should make the call to actor Michael J Fox to let him know just what work he was doing to raise awareness of Parkinson’s Disease.

What he didn’t expect was for the actor to pick up the phone and chat to him.

Mr Mills, 44, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s seven years ago, and ever since he has been working as an ambassador for the Parkinson’s Disease Society, helping to raise money, and awareness of the disease.

Michael J Fox, also 44, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991, when he was 30, and has also been working as an ambassador for the disease, setting up the Michael J Fox Foundation in 2000.

Mr Mills’ latest project has been to create a poem using Bob Marley lyrics, which he read at the Parkinson Disease Society’s regional carol concert at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Suffolk, on Saturday.

But before he gave his reading he called Michael J Fox in America to let him know what he was doing. Mr Mills was chatting to the actor’s personal assistant when to his surprise Michael picked up the phone.

Mr Mills, who lives in Mulbarton, said: “I thought I would ring him up and tell him what I was doing as he does so much for Parkinson’s himself.

“At first I was chatting to his personal assistant about the poem when he took the phone from her, apologised for being in a rush and thanked me for taking the time to call him.

“He said he liked the idea of what I was doing and asked me to fax him his own personal copy of the poem I had made up.

“I think the words are from my heart and I feel are appropriate to people with my condition. So often you get all these doctors rattling on about this, that and the other that people get depressed.

“My job is to make people feel positive, to give an alternative view. So long as I make a few people smile I’m happy.”

Mr Mills chose lyrics from Three Little Birds, So Much Trouble in the World and Exodus, all written by the late, great reggae star.

“I ran it past the canon beforehand and he thought it was brilliant,” he said. “He told me it was the first time a Rastafarian’s name had been on the cathedral’s reading order in 500 years.”

Parkinson’s Disease affects the brain and can causes shaking in some of those it affects. It also leads to problems with movement, such as walking and talking, and balance and can cause depression.

Around one in 500 people in the UK suffer from Parkinson’s and it is usually diagnosed in people over the age of 50 but some cases start before the age of 40, as in Mr Mills and Michael J Fox, and this is a condition known as young-onset Parkinson’s. Around 10,000 people in this group are diagnosed in the UK each year.

When Mr Mills was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease it prompted him to change his life and strive for a lifelong dream to become a DJ. Despite his condition the former postman now plays his music in clubs across the county.

As well as giving inspirational talks around the country, including at the House of Commons, he has raised awareness of the condition by drawing on the support of Muhammad Ali, who also suffers from Parkinson’s.

Clare Lipscombe, of Parkinson’s Disease Society, praised Mr Mills for all the work he had done for the society.

“He is a great ambassador for us,” she said.

Trevor Mills’ Bob Marley poem

Speaking as someone with Parkinson’s everyday I am subject to people’s ignorance so in the words of Bob Marley this is my message to you:

Emancipate your mind from mental slavery

None but ourselves can free our minds

We should really love each other

In peace and harmony

But instead we are fussing and fighting

And sailing off on our egos

A million miles from reality

No care for anyone but ourselves

Don’t you look at me with your preconceptions

And say I am bad

Who are you to judge me

And the life that I lead

I know I am not perfect

But I don’t claim to be

So before you point your finger

Make sure your own hands are clean

The road to life is rocky

And you too might stumble

So while you are judging me

Someone’s judging you

So emancipate your mind

And lose your perceptions

But to all you people who are seen as different

You indeed are the normal ones

And I say to you

Appreciate the pure and simple

And you will understand

That the really important things in life

Are staring us right in the face

Remember this and everything will be alright

Don’t worry every little thing will be alright.