The former Scotland and British Lions captain took to the stage with his wife at the World Parkinson’s Congress in Glasgow to talk about his family’s experience of the disease, for which there is still no cure.
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Mrs Hastings was diagnosed with the illness in 2003 when she was only 39.
Speaking after the congress, Hastings said: “My wife was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2003. We took the decision to lead our lives in the most positive way possible and Diane continues to be a brilliant mum to our two children.
“I wanted to play a part in the World Parkinson’s Congress to offer my support to the global Parkinson’s community and the Parkinson’s community in Scotland.”
Campaigners said his words made an impact on the congress. Parkinson’s sufferer Bryn Williams, 40, said: “His comments increased the momentum and focus on the main issue -- to improve the lives of Parkinson’s sufferers.”
Film star Michael J Fox was diagnosed with the disease in 1991 but didn’t make it public until 1998. The symptoms most often associated with the disease are tremor, rigidity and slowness of movement.