Mike Tindall, the former England Rugby player and husband of Zara Tindall has opened up in depth about his father's 20 year long fight with Parkinson's Disease.
Speaking to Medical Technology Manufacturer, Charco Neurotech who are based in Cambridge and develop pioneering treatments for the illness, Mike described the circumstances surrounding his father Phillip Tindall's diagnosis almost two decades ago.
He said his father had been struggling with small cramped writing but "being a typical northern bloke" had left it for a couple of years before seeking help and being finally diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2003.
Though the news came as a surprise at the time Mike, 43, said he remained “fairly blasé about it for the next 6 or 7 years” which is something he regrets now.
He added: “I feel that if I’d have taken more notice then, I could have made him get on top of staying physically fit and in shape – but that’s all hindsight because it’s the knowledge that I have now that might not have been there in 2003. I wish I’d paid more interest in what was going on with Parkinson’s and done a little bit more research back then.”
Mike continued describing his family's lack of knowledge about the disease saying: "Even now [my dad] still doesn’t have a great understanding of Parkinson’s… he knows how it affects him though. One thing you quickly find out about Parkinson’s is that every case is very much different and individual, and so that’s why it’s very tricky”.
Mike has been married to Zara Tindall, who is the daughter of Princess Anne, since 2011. He describes his heartbreak at his dad being “in and out of a wheelchair" for the wedding and stresses the importance of keeping active if you're diagnosed saying: "lack of exercise is the biggest no-no in Parkinson’s”.
He adds: "What can be frustrating for anyone with a family member with Parkinson’s is how receptive they are. My mum and dad; not particularly receptive.
"It can sometimes feel like an uphill struggle when they think they know best and are very rigid in their approach to things. It’s about drip-feeding them things step by step, at the end of the day quality of life is the most important thing”.
Together with his brother, Ian, Mike is very active in raising money for Parkinson's UK and he is a patron of the Cure Parkinson's Trust commenting on the available treatments: “Even if something only helps 2 out of 100 people then you’re still changing 2 per cent of people with Parkinson’s lives and surely that is worth doing”.
Mike is rumoured to be as one of the famous faces heading into the I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here jungle.
He also last month revealed the late Queen's moving words when she approved the repatriation flight of her coffin, prior to her death earlier this month.
She passed away at Balmoral in Scotland on 8 September, meaning her coffin had to be flown back to London, and Mike revealed that the original choice of plane for the job was scrapped, in favour of something "more dignified".
Although he couldn't verify the story, saying it was told to him by an "old army friend", Mike said: "It wasn't the original plane picked and they had to change it and they went for this big old plane to make it more dignified."
He claimed that, upon the Queen learning that the intended plane would be a larger RAF aircraft which had previously repatriated the bodies of British soldiers, she said: “If it’s good enough for my boys, it’s good enough for me.”
He added: "And that in itself just sort of sums it up."
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