Dear <<First Name>>,
Between 7 and 10 million people worldwide have Parkinson’s Disease, the second most common age-related neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s Disease. Unfortunately, this disorder, which affects motor functions of the patients, has no cure, but there are treatments to slow down its progression.
On this occasion, we would like to raise awareness about Parkinson’s Disease and how we can use the 2019 World Table Tennis Day to help.
Early this year, at the Liebherr 2018 World Team Championships, we met Nenad Bach, a Croatian musician settled in New York since 1984. Mr. Bach is the founder of Ping Pong Parkinson, an initiative to help people with Parkinson’s Disease through table tennis.
6 years ago Nenad Bach was diagnosed the illness, which he said that it prolonged his life.
“I lived too fast and my body in self-preservation decided to slow me down whether I like it or not”, he clarified.
His first approach to table tennis was when a friend invited him see a new venue in Pleasantville, New York. Since then he liked the sport, but he just began to play table tennis once a week 40 years later.
After five years of his diagnose, he couldn’t play the guitar but that changed after trying table tennis: “I couldn't perform live some songs with syncopation and now I can. That is a huge difference in my perception of my diagnose.”
But he also confessed that he can practice other motor activities too: “Plus a little secret: I juggle 3 objects as well. And I love it almost as much as table tennis.”
After seeing his improvements, Nenad Bach wanted to share the benefits of table tennis and created Ping Pong Parkinson. “I wanted to share my observation, so that everybody else with Parkinson’s Disease will be able to benefit in the same or similar way as I do.”
As Nenad, ITTF Foundation also wants everyone to know the benefits of table tennis. So we encourage event organisers to focus their events not only on fun, but also on people’s health.
Probably people will be a bit shy at the beginning, so it is important to make them feel comfortable and keep them motivated. The objective is to make them come back to play table tennis.
Take these tips into account to have a successful event:
Contact local authorities and organizations for people with Parkinson’s Disease to invite participants to the event
Ask organizations about Parkinson’s Disease for any special requirements, in order to make participants feel more comfortable during the event
Plan activities, which can be carried out by all participants
Establish contact with the organizations and participants after the event
Lastly, Nenad Bach makes an invitation to all people with Parkinson’s Disease:
“Move physically and mentally. Find something in that domain that you love to do anyway, so that you do not need discipline to continue doing it.”