Shaking Hands With The Devil
How it began
Following a harrowing experience in Sri Lanka in January 2023, where David was physically threatened, verbally attacked and ridiculed purely because of his visible symptoms, he became determined to champion Parkinson’s sufferers overseas where myth and religious zeal often leads to sufferers facing horrific consequences. And where if sufferers are seen displaying the outward signs of this debilitating disease they can be subjected to horrific forms of physical abuse, often resulting in their murder. There is currently little to no understanding of Parkinson’s as a condition and limited access to any medication or healthcare to support sufferers – this can and must change.
His initial research about the subject led him to Dr Natasha Fothergill-Misbah, based at Newcastle University, who had just published an evidence-based paper: The lived experience of stigma and Parkinson’s disease in Kenya: a public health challenge on Parkinson’s sufferers in Kenya. Dr Fothergil-Misbah is also working to improve access to medication for people with Parkinson’s across the world, with The World Health Organisation
Travelling to Kenya to expose the human rights atrocities and stigma faced by people with Parkinson’s
In March this year (2023) David travelled, with Dr Fothergill-Misbah, and director Olz McCoy, to Kenya to make an independent film documentary to highlight the plight of Parkinson’s suffers and their families. This experience left David emotionally scarred, but even more determined to raise awareness of human rights violations against Parkinson’s sufferers at international government level.
I felt under extreme threat while I was in Kenya filming, and the film hopes to raise the plight of those who live with this threat day in day out. We are appealing to human rights organisations to galvanise international governments to raise awareness.
For ten days, while in Kenya, David stopped taking his medication so the men and women he interviewed could relate to him as a fellow Parkinson’s sufferer.
The documentary tells David’s story and includes some scenes which may cause distress.
This documentary is the most important thing I’ve done in my life. If it stops the needless death of just one other person, then that will make it all worth it. However, if it becomes a catalyst and sea change to the way people view disabilities and human rights, if it raises awareness of the real issue and improves treatment options in communities within Africa, or could even inspire a change in government policy – then I’ll have fulfilled the purpose of a lifetime.
How can you help
Share. The purpose of the film is first and foremost to raise awareness of the horrific abuse some people with Parkinson’s face at a global level – please share it with friends, family members, politicans and across your social media channels to make sure this critical issue is heard and amplified.
Donate. You can also donate to help raising funds for people in Kenya with Parkinson’s who can’t afford to buy their life-saving medication. Just $20 provides a month of medication for someone with Parkinson’s and allows the volunteer support groups to continue their life-changing work. The support groups in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu also help those with Parkinson’s and their families with the holistic care they need.
We appreciate all your support in whatever way you can.
David would like to send his heartfelt thanks to everyone who has supported the journey of brining this documentary to light. With thanks to:
Kenya’s Parkinson’s sufferers and their families – The brave people who ultimately risked their lives to allowed themselves to be featured in this documentary. Without their bravery this short documentary wouldn’t have been possible, and this horrific story may have stayed silent for longer. We have hope that this will help change the conversations taking place around Parkinson’s, human rights abuses, and overall raise access to healthcare and disability equality.
Olz McCoy – Director, Editor & Cinematographer. Olz it’s a young and emerging film director from London. His films are powerful, meaningful and emotional, driven by the belief the film is the best medium to entertain and educate. Trying to make the world a better place one film at a time.
Natasha Forthergill-Misbah – Producer & Researcher. Dr Natasha Forthergill-Misbah is a Kenyan postdoctoral research associate working at Newcastle University. Her research uses qualitative methods and is focused around global health, ageing and Parkinson’s disease.
Silverback Films – Chris Howard and all of the team at Silverback have been critical in supporting David’s journey and in helping syndicate this story to the world’s media.
Southern Cross Safaris – for their travel support and aid
LSVT Global – for their support with funding the project
MBP.com – for their assitance
Blackmagic Design – for the use of their camera equipment
Why David Plummer chose BBC Breakfast to launch his story
After his previous BBC Breakfast appearance, Naga Munchetty had asked David to contact her with any future projects… Following on from his own experience in Sri Lanka and from learning more from Dr Fothergill-Misbah, David felt compelled to tell the story and support Parkinson’s sufferers in Kenya with this short documentary. Making sure this story of human rights abuse is amplified and heard by as many people as possible, is what led David back to BBC Breakfast and reaching out to the team to break the story.
If you’ve been affected by any of the issues raised within this documentary, here’s the details of an organisation that can offer advice and support.
Samaritans – Samaritans is available for anyone struggling to cope and provide a safe place to talk 24 hours a day.
Phone: 116 123 or visit the Samaritans website
Press and media enquiries
+44 (0) 7957 484 737