TV cameras capture Woodbury man’s Parkinson’s fight

PUBLISHED: 12:30 14 May 2016

Television presenter Emma Willis (right) with Mac Macgregor.

Television presenter Emma Willis (right) with Mac Macgregor.

Stuart Wood

The moment a retired Woodbury marine was moved to tears after undergoing a life-changing therapy for Parkinson’s has been captured on television.

Cameras showed James ‘Mac’ MacGregor undergoing ‘deep brain stimulation’ to stop the tremors caused by the degenerative condition.

Viewers of What Would Be Your Miracle? watched on as, following the procedure, Mac was able to lift a cup and take a drink from it.

Speaking before the procedure, Mac said: “I don’t recognize myself now. It’s a complete change from being what I was to what I am now.”

Joining the Marines, aged 17, in search of adventure, Mac served in the Falklands and on three tours of Northern Ireland.

He specialised in surviving in Arctic conditions and, off-duty, was an active sportsman.

After 23 years of regimental life, Mac was looking for his next adventure.

He was travelling around Europe in a campervan with his wife Chez when his carefree existence came to an end.

Chez said: “We were in Portugal and this one morning I got up, Mac was sat in bed with his cup of coffee, and he just went quiet.

“He was biting his tongue and choking - I didn’t know what was happening.”

Mac had suffered a fit and within weeks he noticed that his left hand had started to shake.

His tremor gradually spread throughout his body and became increasingly violent.

Mac and his Royal, Devon and Exeter Hospital neurological consultant Dr Tim Harrower began working through various treatments to try and combat his symptoms.

Unfortunately, Mac’s tremors gradually worsened.

It was then that Dr Harrower set in motion the plan that would lead to Mac’s brain surgery.

The operation involved making a 3D map of Mac’s brain and inserting electrodes deep inside.

These are then connected to an electrical device embedded in Mac’s chest and, when this special technology is switched on, it changes the brain’s electrical signals to Mac’s body.

The television programme, screened on ITV last Thursday, showed how the operation has changed his life.

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