Former headteacher raises £25,000 in decade after Parkinson’s diagnosis

Vickie Cunnane. Photo: Parkinson's UK.

Vickie Cunnane. Photo: Parkinson's UK. - Credit: Archant

A determined Parkinson’s sufferer has raised £25,000 to help those afflicted with the disease in the decade following her diagnosis.

Vickie Cunnane outside the new home for the Chedgrave Parkinson's charity shop.Picture: Nick Butcher

Vickie Cunnane outside the new home for the Chedgrave Parkinson's charity shop.Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Vickie Cunnane, from Chedgrave, has completed a host of fundraising challenges including jumping out of a plane and opening her own charity shop.

The 66-year-old former headteacher of Corton Primary School has found her mobility and balance deteriorate and also struggles to talk.

She said: “When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s I didn’t believe it was happening to me. It was really hard telling my husband, children and my mum, no one could really understand and they didn’t know what to say.

“Having Parkinson’s is a whole new way of life. It’s difficult to plan ahead because I don’t know how I’ll feel each day and I’ve had to become very reliant on my husband. I know my Parkinson’s will only get worse because it’s a progressive condition.

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“But I hope one day I’ll be able to enjoy having grandchildren, although it won’t be as I’ve planned because I won’t be able to hold them or read aloud to them.”

Mrs Cunnane added: “I decided to start raising money with the hope that a cure can be found and to improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s.

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“My charity shop in support of Parkinson’s UK has grown hugely, it started as a stall at a farmer’s market and we’ve had to move to bigger premises twice because it’s got so big.”

Due to overwhelming support from the local community Mrs Cunnane’s Parkinson’s shop moved to larger premises in Langley Road, Chedgrave.

She added: ““I’m amazed at the generosity of the local people. The shop has helped to raise awareness of Parkinson’s in the area and it’s become a place for people with Parkinson’s to drop by and chat.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who’s visited the shop and to all the shop volunteers, we couldn’t do it without you.”

Becky Redbond, of Parkinson’s UK, said: “Nobody should have to face Parkinson’s alone - or without hope that one day we’ll find better treatments and a cure.

“Vickie has raised a phenomenal amount of money and we can’t thank her enough. Without support like hers, nothing we do would be possible.”

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