Laughter is the best medicine

Laughter is the best medicine and living proof of that is Mark Wilson. Mark is a South Leeds resident whose life changed completely firstly at 21 and then at 40.

“I was diagnosed with Charcot Marie Tooth at 21 and then Parkinson’s just after my 40th birthday” he explains.

Symptoms of CMT include – muscle weakness, especially in the feet, ankles and legs, a lack of sensation in the arms and feet, poor circulation and extreme fatigue.

Parkinson’s is the more heard of – involuntary shaking, muscle stiffness and slow movement are among the symptoms experienced. Looking through the list of body bashing effects it is understandable that Mark struggled with these diseases.

“My walking got worse, my eyes got worse, my movement got worse and then my speech became bad.”

Deep brain surgery was done to try and improve some of Mark’s Parkinson’s symptoms. After all this he fell into a severe depression and wanted an end to his struggles.

A chance meeting with a comedian who had a close relative with Parkinson’s gave Mark a person who understood exactly what he was going through, because sometimes we just need someone to get it. He then went to his show, and it helped Mark more than he anticipated.

“He made me laugh for the first time in years and then asked if I’d like to organise a comedy show in aid of Parkinson’s UK, he arranged for another 3 comedians, and we raised £1.200.”

Mark highly credits this chance meeting with the single most important act “That man saved my life.”

Up to date Mark’s comedy nights have raised £38,000. He runs two shows per year in March and September. To get details on these shows search Leeds Laughter Lounge on Facebook.

Mark writes a couple of jokes himself and yes, they are related to his disability, this is a sign of acceptance and peace. From a place of not wanting to deal with life, to using it to make people laugh we’ll finish how we started – Laughter is the best medicine!


This post wasa written by Christine Smart