Shake It Up ambassador Liz Cantor grew up in Sunshine Beach, Noosa, where her love of surfing was rewarded with a sponsorship from Billabong at just 16. She competed across Australia and internationally for many of her teenage years and made history as the first ever female surf judge to sit on the World Tour panel. These days, you can catch Liz on Creek to Coast, Weekender, Powerball and presenting weather for 7 News Gold Coast.
Liz’s passion for Shake It Up and supporting the quest for a Parkinson’s cure is drawn from her own family connection. Liz’s grandmother and grandfather both suffered from Parkinson’s. For Liz, seeing her grandmother, who danced as a prima-ballerina, lose control of her body was heart-wrenching.
We spoke to Liz about her role as an ambassador for Shake It Up and her advice for others wanting to make a difference.
Hi Liz! Can you tell us a bit about your role with Channel 7 as a presenter?
I present the weather for 7 Gold Coast News, the Powerball Draws nationally, and I work on two lifestyle shows: Creek to Coast – which is boating, fishing, surfing, 4wheel driving focused and Weekender – which is events and travel.
Why did you choose to become an ambassador for Shake It Up Australia?
My grandma was a ballerina and really found her sense of self in her grace. Watching her battle Parkinson’s disease was heartbreaking. Parkinson’s has affected my family hugely as I lost both my Grandmother and Grandfather to the disease – and now my uncle, who was a cameraman, also has the disease and has been limited by it. When I won Channel 7’s reality TV show The Mole, in 2005, I wanted to donate some money to a Parkinson’s charity in honour of my grandparents, but it was really hard to find anything back then. After some searching and looking into the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research I discovered Clyde and Shake it Up Australia. I immediately knew this was a Foundation that was driven for all the right reasons and I was completely onboard for getting behind their mission. I have been a proud ambassador ever since.
What inspires your commitment to a cure for Parkinson’s?
I really believe in Clyde. He is such a successful, driven and intelligent person and I feel as though he won’t stop until a cure is found. As a result I believe there is no better place to put our funds then behind his drive for research.
Why do you feel it’s so important to raise awareness and reduce the stigma around Parkinson’s?
Because it’s within our grasp to find effective treatments and possibly a cure. Funding and support for research WILL result in saving and improving lives.
What advice do you have for anyone else looking to shake things up and make a difference for Parkinson’s?
Be on the right side of history and be a part of a movement that is having immediate effects on people’s lives.
You can follow Liz on Instagram @lizcantor