Every father dreams of giving a heartfelt speech at his daughter’s wedding, but for Elan Shoffman, Parkinson’s disease is threatening his chance on the big day.
The 64-year-old former Israeli Navy officer was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2006 and has developed a speech impediment, but many therapy services on the NHS have been limited owing to austerity measures, meaning he is left to struggle with the condition.
Now bride-to-be Amanda Shoffman and her siblings are helping their dad through a crowdfunding campaign.
They are looking to raise £2,500 to pay for private speech therapy and to document his progress in an awareness raising film.
Amanda, who is getting married in August, said: “At most weddings, it is traditional for the father of the bride to welcome everyone with a little speech before dinner.
“My dad wants to fulfil this duty, however Parkinson’s disease has destroyed his confidence and ability to speak loudly without freezing or stuttering. Parkinson’s creates muscle stiffness and tremors and can also result in speech impediments.
“Sufferers used to be able to access speech therapy on the NHS, but this has been reduced due to government cutbacks. “Instead, people like our dad are left relying on apps, expensive speech devices or just suffering in silence. A stutter or speech impediment can hit a person’s confidence. “Considering the speeches he used to make, it is very sad to see. We want to give our dad his voice back.” Backers can receive rewards, from a personal thank you to an invite to the film’s screening later in the year.
• You can find out more and support the campaign at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-speech-thinking-loud