Mum uses tragedy to spur fund-raising bid

Liam and Jean Parkes
Liam and Jean Parkes
  • A mother who tragically lost her son while fighting Parkinson’s disease is using her heartbreak to spur her on in a fund-raising venture
  • Jean Parkes has lived with the debilitating disease since 2003
  • As a teenager her son Liam was diagnosed with leukaemia but he bravely fought it and went into remission
  • But when he took ill again he sank into depression, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and in May 2013, aged 32, he took his own life
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A mother who tragically lost her son while fighting Parkinson’s disease is using her heartbreak to spur her on in a fund-raising venture.

Jean Parkes, who has lived with the debilitating disease since 2003, has been rocked by tragedy in recent years.

Fund-raising helps me to focus on something other than being sad about Liam

As a teenager her son Liam was diagnosed with leukaemia but he bravely fought it and went into remission.

But when he took ill again he sank into depression, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and in May 2013, aged 32, he took his own life.

Now his mother is organising her biggest fund-raiser yet, to raise money for the charities which have supported her through so much.

Ms Parkes, 66, who worked in showbusiness as a promoter, is organising a show at Viva Showbar, in Blackpool, on May 15, to raise money for charities Parkinson’s UK and Leukaemia Research.

She said: “Liam and I used to raise money for Parkinson’s UK together so I thought it’d be nice to do more. He was a rock for me.

“Fund-raising helps me to focus on something other than being sad about Liam.”

Ms Parkes, from Poulton, has lived with Parkinson’s for 12 years, a progressive disease which causes slow movement due to a loss of nerve cells in the brain.

She added: “It’s completely changed my life. It’s a nightmare of a disease, one day you’re feeling fantastic and the next you’re not.

“Fund-raising keeps me going and it helps me with my grief. It keeps my mind occupied even though my body’s gone.”

Comedian Jimmy Cricket is headlining the show, accompanied by compere Stewart Masters, comedy duo Barricade and a Dolly Parton tribute act.

Also on the bill are Fylde coast singer Liam Halewood, entertainer Tony Just and young singer Zoe Unsworth, plus many more.

Ms Parkes is being supported in her efforts by friend Sue Coolie, who lost her husband John to leukaemia in February 2014. Together the couple were comedy duo No Idea Comedy.

The pair last year hosted A Night To Remember, in memory of their lost loved ones, raising £1,200.

Mrs Coolie said: “It’s brought me massive comfort to give something back to charity. Jean and I have both been there for each other and we’re raising money for two great charities.

“We’ll have a cracking night.”

Tickets, at £10, are now on sale for the event, available from: (01253) 297297