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The former Radio 1 DJ – known by his nickname ‘Kid’ – has been living with Parkinson’s disease for the past seven years. The 69-year-old has now spoken candidly about the moment he was informed of his diagnosis and revealed his doctor warned him to not “tell anyone” about his health.
The former Top of the Pops presenter revealed his neurologist wanted him to keep the news to himself and not even disclose it to his wife Gudrun.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, David explained: “The first neurologist I had – I didn’t stay with him – said to me, ‘You’ve got Parkinson’s’.
“‘That’s not motor neurone disease or multiple sclerosis.’ I said, ‘Are those the options?'”
“He said to me, ‘You’ve got the best option out of those diseases.'”
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David went on: “Then he explained to me, ‘Don’t tell anybody that you have it [Parkinson’s]. That would be my advice right now.’
“I said to him, ‘What about my family?’ and he [the doctor] said, ‘Don’t tell your wife, your family, your best friend. Nobody.'”
David admitted he quizzed the specialist on why he shouldn’t let his loved ones know and was seemingly surprised by the neurologist’s response.
“He said to me, ‘You’ll go through life with people always asking how you are all the time’,” the DJ remarked.
“And I was thinking, ‘I quite like that. I like people asking after me’.”
David was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013 and decided to go public with the news five years later.
He admitted: “It’s never a chore. In fact, people with Parkinson’s themselves can see if you have similar symptoms to them and come up to me and ask me about it.”
David, who began his broadcasting career with Radio Luxembourg after moving from Canada in the 1960s, first realised something was wrong in 2012 when he noticed he was dragging his feet.
But since he felt otherwise fine, he ignored the problem for the next six months despite pleas from Gudrun and friends to seek medical help.
Parkinson’s is an incurable disease and common symptoms include tremors, slow movement and episodes of “freezing” or rigidity, according to the NHS.
The disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in the substantia nigra, an area in the middle of the brain that is involved in the control of movement, as well as feelings of reward and addiction.
The nerve cells in this part of the brain are responsible for producing a chemical called dopamine, which acts as a messenger between the brain and the nervous system, helping to control body movements.
If these nerve cells become damaged or die the amount of dopamine in the brain is reduced and movements become slow.
David has since teamed up with charity Parkinson’s UK to support others who are currently living with the disease.
Parkinson’s is one of the underlying health conditions identified by the government as increasing the risk of serious complications from coronavirus, and right now, the 145,000 people living with Parkinson’s in the UK need more support than ever.
Parkinson’s UK has launched an Emergency Appeal and must raise £95,000 every week so it can deliver critical support services. To donate to Parkinson’s UK Emergency Appeal visit: www.parkinsons.org.uk/donate
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