Shake It Up ambassador Kristy Johnson has a goal: to raise as much awareness about Parkinson’s disease (PD) as she can, and draw attention to the misconceptions about living with Parkinson’s.
She is passionate about staying on top of the latest research and clinical trials that will not only help to alleviate symptoms for those with PD, but also highlight the early warning signs before a diagnosis is made.
Kristy has worked as a writer and journalist for online publications and magazines for more than 10 years, and is passionate about the lifestyle and entertainment industries.
She now hopes to connect with other like-minded individuals who are passionate in learning more about living with Parkinson’s Disease.
In April 2023, Kristy will be delivering a presentation at the INSIGHT conference for Parkinson’s Awareness Month. We spoke to Kristy about her commitment to making a difference for Parkinson’s, and how she’s raising awareness in her community.
What inspires your commitment to a cure for Parkinson’s?
I would say first and foremost due to the fact an immediate family member has Parkinson’s. I have obviously followed their journey with the disease since diagnosis and seen the impact it has, not just on them, but on their loved ones. A cure is the end goal, but I think it’s just as important to be aware of the early warning signs prior to a diagnosis.
Why did you choose to become an ambassador for Shake It Up Australia?
If I can help at least one person in the same situation, then I feel it’s a worthy cause. Carers also need to be cared for, their physical and mental health is just as important. I hope to raise awareness of what it’s like to care for someone with Parkinson’s, and let at least one person know they are not alone.
Can you share some details about your upcoming presentation for the INSIGHT conference?
I will be presenting underneath the Carers and Support category. The focus of the speech is to draw attention to making sure carers have their physical and mental health needs met, just as much as the person they are caring for. And to let them know that help and support is always there. You can register for a free ticket here.
Why do you feel it’s important to raise awareness and reduce the stigma around Parkinson’s?
For most, when you think about Parkinson’s, shaking is what comes to mind. But that’s just one small physical symptom of the disease. There are many others, but the neurological symptoms can be surprising, perplexing, and challenging…. and in some cases even more severe than the physical symptoms.
How are you going with training for your half marathon? Where can people show their support for you?
It feels daunting! I won’t lie. But I’m always keen to push myself out of my comfort zone. I have always led an active lifestyle so I definitely have that aspect on my side. I would be forever grateful to those that could share their support by donating, with proceeds going towards Shake It Up Australia Foundation.
People can lend their support by donating here.
What advice do you have for anyone else looking to shake things up for Parkinson’s?
It doesn’t have to be a case of running a certain amount of kilometres, but can be as simple as learning more about the disease. The more we know, the earlier it is to catch the warning signs.
You can find Kristy on Instagram.