Volunteer Profile: Judy Learmonth – Support Group Coordinator
For the past five and a half years, Judy has been volunteering for Parkinson’s Queensland as the Support Group Coordinator at Elanora. Recently, she met with our Member Services Officer, Rachel Jeffrey, to talk about her involvement. Judy’s input and dedication to Parkinson’s as a volunteer has been outstanding. We asked Judy why she volunteers for Parkinson’s Queensland and what it means to her.
What is your connection to Parkinson’s?
My husband Rod had Parkinson’s, his sister Raylee was diagnosed with Parkinson’s sometime after Rod and their Dad also had Parkinson’s.
Why did you choose to volunteer for Parkinson’s Queensland?
Rod managed his Parkinson’s in the early stages. As his Parkinson’s progressed I knew it would be necessary for me to become more involved.
I needed to learn more about this disease and realised other people with Parkinson’s and their carers were probably in the same position.
When the Elanora Support Group was formed in 2012 it seemed the thing to do – initially becoming a member and then Coordinator.
There is so much information and help out there – it is a case of knowing where to go and who to contact.
What do you enjoy the most about volunteering?
No matter where, when and how you commit as a volunteer, there is a good feeling because you are doing something for someone else. There is no monetary reward but your reward is knowing your commitment – whether giving your time, sharing your knowledge, listening or just being you – will make a difference to someone’s life and to the organisation in general.
What would you say to others who are considering volunteering with Parkinson’s Queensland?
Yes, please consider volunteering. You may surprise yourself – I certainly did.
At Parkinson’s Queensland, volunteers play an important role in its day to day activities. The organisation welcomes and appreciates its volunteers.
Your involvement enables you to become more understanding, sympathetic and empathetic towards those with a chronic illness or disability and their wonderful carers.
Do you have any other comments to share?
I know I doubted myself when I first volunteered to become a Support Group Coordinator. I think there may have been others who also doubted whether I could fulfil the role.
I am a shy person and have gained confidence whilst in this volunteering role. It is the people you meet, the friendships you make and the knowledge you gain that keep you going.
I know I am a better person from the experience.
I also know Parkinson’s will always be a part of my life.
We are grateful and thank Judy for her service as a Support Group Coordinator and for all she has done for Parkinson’s Queensland. As an example, last year, Judy joined members of our team at the Australian Pharmacy Professionals conference where we shared information about Parkinson’s with pharmacists from all over the country. Judy’s support at this event as both a Support Group Coordinator, wife and carer of a person with Parkinson’s, was instrumental in our success.