World Parkinson’s Day is different this year.

It’s that time of year once again when we, self christened Parkinson’s advocates, write a little something, toss off a bagatelle, to inspire and enthuse the readers. We pick our best brave face, drug ourselves up to the gunwales and pick up our banners and tins, ready to ‘raise awareness’. To this day I have not heard a convincing definition of what that is.

This year seems different. This year the world seems to have taken a darker turn. Fires burn in the Amazon, in the Rockies and in the Blue Mountains. Toxic smoke obscures the horizon. Polar bears swim desperately for land in the rising Arctic waters. From being a tender lover, gently lulling us to sleep in her arms, the weather is now angry, disdainful, tossing us like a wounded mouse between the cats paws. And everywhere there are evil people happy to exploit others, send overloaded boats across the channel in search of a new life in Britain only to drown within sight of land.

Elsewhere landscapes, sweeping vistas, or bucolic village scenes in the Ukraine are transformed into the charred backdrop of our nightmares. The acrid scent of burning human flesh among the unsanitary detritus of human misery. Ukrainian children needing chemotherapy that they will never receive in the hospital, now burnt to the ground, their deaths are certain as night follows day. What kind of person, what kind of bestiality allows these crimes to take place. Atrocity upon atrocity. Man debasing his own humanity.

On the radio, through the Internet, the television, jerky anxious pictures of annihilation. As though burnt into my retina,I can’t even close my eyes to make it go away. I wake in the night to the sound of screaming. My own screaming. Terrified and alone.

And against that how can I seriously be expected to talk about Parkinson’s?

Of course I can’t. And so I won’t.

My message to our great Parkinson’s family this year? Simple. Save all the money you would have given and give it to more worthy causes – and at the moment there are many. Give it for chemotherapy in displaced Ukrainian children. Give it to prevent Amazon deforestation. Adopt a polar bear. Anything. Anything worthy. Just do what you can to redress the balance. Apologise to Gaia. Pray to any gods you may have . But act. Above all act.