The first World Parkinson's Day (WPD) was held in 1997. The date commemorates the birthday of Dr James Parkinson, born 11 April 1755, and most famous for his essay ‘An Essay on the Shaking Palsy’ in 1817, which first recognised Parkinson’s as a medical condition.
The inaugural WPD event in 1997 marked the launch of the Parkinson’s Europe Charter, which provided the central focus and opportunity for people with Parkinson's, their families and healthcare professionals to work together to promote awareness and increase the profile of Parkinson's. The Charter gained the support of influential people around the world including UK royals HRH Princess Margaret and Princess Diana, UK prime ministers John Major and Tony Blair, Pope John Paul II, Italian opera singer Luciano Pavarotti and US boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
What is 'The Spark'?
In 2022, a host of global Parkinson’s organisations joined forces to develop and launch a new logo for World Parkinson’s Day – dubbed ‘The Spark’. The logo was designed to encourage the Parkinson’s community to speak with one voice and create a universal symbol of Parkinson’s.
The Spark is the result of an active collaboration between international Parkinson’s organisations including Parkinson's Europe, PD Avengers, Parkinson’s Foundation, Davis Phinney Foundation, Brian Grant Foundation and Cure Parkinson’s.
The Spark design is inspired by dopamine – the electro-chemical neurotransmitter that people with Parkinson’s are striving to retain.