Our heroes this week are Alokita, her husband Sai and children Anya (7), and Arhaan (3), who are taking on the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival as a family to honour Alokita’s grandfather who had Parkinson’s. This year, the Sydney Running Festival coincides with her grandfather’s birthday which will make the day extra special!
What drives your commitment to a cure for Parkinson’s?
My grandfather was diagnosed with Parkinson’s when I was in high school. From knowing it as something which caused stiffness and infrequent shakes, it quickly turned into something much bigger – we saw the impact it had on his mobility, his speech, and then even his ability to eat. Towards the last few years of his life, he was bedridden and unrecognisable. He never complained but the pain he was going through and the helplessness he felt was evident, even to a self-absorbed high school student at the time! His struggle drives my commitment to finding a cure for this disease. We are all in this together – he may not have been cured of it, but his struggle and the struggle of others suffering from it raises awareness, and sets the wheels in motion for research so hopefully one day in the near future, when a grandparent receives the diagnosis, it is seen as something that can be treated, and something that can be managed enabling them to maintain a good quality of life.
What are you doing to ‘Shake things up’?
Walks, walks, walks. I go for walks around our neighbourhood every night, and the four of us have been exploring the bush trails in our local area. The kids love the adventure, we enjoy being in nature, and we feel a true sense of satisfaction and teamwork when we get to the end of the trail.
How will you feel when you cross the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival finish line?
Proud of our little heroes who, in their own way, have honoured their great-grandfather on his birthday (which this year coincides with the run!).
What advice do you have about fundraising for others?
I think when you find a cause that is close to your heart, “fundraising” feels less of an ask and becomes more about sharing a part of you and explaining the story behind why something matters to you. So, my advice would be to find your cause, and know why it matters to you.
If you’re looking to get involved and make a difference, you can find out more about charity fun runs happening this year. Or maybe you’d like to set your own physical challenge and join the Shake It Up Virtual Challenge. Your support will make a difference towards better treatments for Parkinson’s.