.- The Argentinean daily La Nación featured a story last week on the testimony of a group of Parkinson’s sufferers who expressed their gratitude for the example Pope John Paul II gave in bearing the disease with patience. “This disease is embarrassing; it makes you feel ridiculous. But John Paul II’s attitude gave us strength to go out and to better connect ourselves with others; in my case, to dance and make gestures without worrying about other people looking at me,” said Ana Fernandez de Piol, coordinator of the Argentinean Parkinson’s Group (APG) .
The newspaper also published the testimony of Roberto Tomasello, 58, professor of drawing and painting and member of the APG. “The Pope had much foresight, he was a sportsman and an athlete. And to say that a Parkinson’s patient is an athlete is ironic but it is inspiring. It makes us wonder why we cannot be in public places just like ‘normal’ people, why we cannot mingle with others instead of living in hiding.”
“The Pope showed us that. He was not a sick man dressed up as Pope, he fulfilled his obligations and although the illness complicated things, the handicap was only a physical one,” Tomasello recalled.
Ramona Nunez, 44, has suffered from Parkinson’s for eight years, and she says the last pictures of the Pope brought her comfort. “I was worried about always lying down and not being able to do things, because there came a point in which I couldn’t move. But at the same time, I felt I had a lot of will power. I am very devout, and if he did not let himself be overcome, he was an example to be followed,” she said.