Davinia Baglietto, who was crowned Mrs Europe in 2017, is seeking to use her position to improve care for Parkinson’s patients in Gibraltar.
Baglietto is seeking to use her pageant platform to organise support groups and a day centre for those affected by the condition.
Parkinson’s disease is a long-term degenerative disorder of the motor system that typically affects those over the age of 60.
The cause is a personal one for Davinia, whose father was diagnosed with the disorder fifteen years ago.
“I entered Mrs Gibraltar with the purpose of raising awareness for Parkinson’s disease as there is not enough in Gibraltar to do with it,” she told the Gibraltar Olive Press.
“Gibraltar has supported me every sense of the way and I thought I need to give something back.”
While Davinia is extremely complimentary of the current services provided by the Gibraltar Health Authority, in particular those of the GHA physio department, she believes there needs to be more mental support for patients and their families.
“They are doing an extraordinary job but the number of patients is increasing.
“For me, there needs to be a bigger location so that patients can have their own space and have more regular support.”
Davinia said her mother acts as a full time carer for her father and currently only receives assistance from a professional for one hour a day.
“My father used to work three jobs when we were small, he used to be a police officer and you can only imagine it, going from being as physical as you can be to having to have assistance to even get into the bath,” she said.
“For them it is so demoralising, my mother will always look after him but she needs more mental health assistance for him from professionals who understand.”
Davinia believes a day centre for Parkinson’s disease would also allow families the opportunity to recover from taking care of their loved ones.
“I’m aware it is going to be a long road, but nothing worthwhile is easy,” Davinia concluded.