Experiencing her first symptoms of Early Onset Parkinson’s at just 29, Kate wanted to be involved in doing something proactive as well as raise awareness for the everyday young Australians also living with Parkinson’s.
Having previously worked as an editor and journalist and having the opportunity to interview some incredible visionaries such as LTGEN David Morrison AO, Tracey Spicer, and Rabia Siddique, it was Kate’s interview with Shake It Up Founder Clyde Campbell that gave her the push to truly get involved.
“I have watched the passion and commitment that people like Michael J. Fox and Clyde Campbell put into the search for a cure. There is no way that I can sit back and do nothing when they are there to inspire me – sure, we have different journeys, but their path is there to give me strength when I feel like saying ‘no, I can’t do this anymore”.
Kate hopes as a national Ambassador at Shake It Up she can inspire others and put a stop to people living with Parkinson’s being seen as victims. “We aren’t victims, we are strong, amazing people who just happen to have a crummy disease and we want a cure to that disease. Young Onset Parkinson’s is real and it’s common. Parky is not just a disease of older people. It’s real and it’s here”.
Kate is now working with the Australian mental health organisation Beyond Blue, using her past experience with the media to assist community Speakers and Ambassadors to tell their own stories. She has had an amazing time in her involvement as a journalist and editor with NewsCorp and the Huffington Post, and ghost-written three best-selling business books. She remains a contributor to several international publications, writing with a focus on topics such as depression and family violence. She also maintains her own website, A Difficult Woman.
Kate is passionate about seeing change happen in the way we view people with Parkinson’s Disease, especially younger people – and equally passionate about finding a cure. Part of her focus is the link between physical and mental wellbeing, and how essential it is to look at “both sides of the chronic illness coin – acknowledging that a physical disease has an enormous impact on mental health.” Finally diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s at 35, she understands the frustrations of what it is like to be perceived as someone ‘different’ and facing limitations with energy and how that affects work choices. She feels that Shake It Up’s dedication to research for a cure, and Clyde’s incredible vision, will assist in bringing Parkinson’s Disease to a grinding halt.
Married to Tim, Kate lives in Melbourne, and is gradually learning how to say ‘no’. She is a loud and proud weird cat lady and her goal is to meet Michael J Fox and thank him for his bravery (and sense of humour) – because he made her courageous enough to start speaking out about Parkinson’s and educating others in the first place. He also taught her to make fun of it.