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More support needed for Parkinson’s

BY CHELSEA MAPPAS

The Parkinson’s community receives much needed support from Parkinson’s Queensland to improve quality of life which can be devastating for some.

Someone who can relate to the struggle which Parkinson’s inflicts is Marissa Colley who witnessed her late father-in-law Peter Colley progress through the disease.

“The first onset of Parkinson’s the family noticed was that he had a stiffness in his muscles and he started to walk differently… the doctor said he was fine,” she said.

“Two years later his walk had dramatically worsened and he started to shake, they tested him for Parkinson’s and it was confirmed.”

Parkinson’s Queensland Spokesperson Belinda Wilson said everyday people are diagnosed with the lifelong disease [just like Peter] and the causes are still unknown.

“A lot is known about Parkinson’s itself, but not the exact causes,” Wilson said.

“30 people in Australia are diagnosed with Parkinson’s in Australia each day—that’s more than one person per hour!”

Mrs Colley said the early symptoms were manageable, but once they progressed it became a test of strength for the family.

“It was frustrating for Peter and one of the hardest things he felt was the loss of ability to speak,” she said.

“Mark (Peter’s son) was really upset particularly when his father couldn’t communicate with him anymore.”

The care which many people with Parkinson’s eventually need can be intensive and outside help might be necessary.

“They are fully reliant on a carer and it can be particularly draining on the primary carer,” she said.

The need for increased funds, information and support for families is being achieved by advocate groups like Parkinson’s Queensland.

Parkinson’s Queensland recognised the importance of community and family with A Walk in the Park which was held on the 13th in New Farm Park.
“It was a great day for the community to come together,” Wilson said.

“We have received so many thank you’s from the Parkinson’s community who were so glad to have us organise a day especially for them – celebrating, supporting and empowering people with Parkinson’s.”

Attendees enjoyed a range of entertainment including music (NUMB BUMS Ukulele band and The Love Cats), fun warm up activities led by professionals and arts and crafts for the kids.

Dame Quentin Bryce showed support for the walk and believes people can stand together to empower those in need.

“I know we share a belief in the power and influence of the Queensland spirit and a commitment to doing what we can to improve the quality of life of so many Australia families,” she said.

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