Our heroes this week are Bianca, her Mum and family who took to the Whitten Oval to honour Dad and husband, Dickybird. Together they walked 71 laps of the oval – one lap for every year of his life – and raised $1,817 towards a cure for Parkinson’s. This remarkable effort took 7.5 hours and was spurred on by friends and family inspired by one of Dickybird’s favourite phrases ‘knock ’em dead!‘
What drives your commitment to a cure for Parkinson’s?
Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease when he was 65 and a few years later the Lewy Body diagnosis was mentioned too. Over the six years he lived with it, there were complexities with his symptoms and it was a giant learning curve for us all.
As with most things in his life, Dad was upbeat and positive; sometimes even joking about it, especially if he was losing a game or in mini golf, he’d blame it on ‘the Parks’. As anyone who has a loved one with a neurological condition would know, it can be really confusing and confronting, not just for the person but for their family and friends, as the brain slowly changes the person you love and know so well.
We sadly lost our beloved Dickybird, as we affectionately called him, on 2nd November 2019. We’re driven to help find a cure for Parkinson’s in part, to honour this beautiful and courageous man, but also so that in years to come other families can avoid this same heart-breaking path.
What did you do to ‘shake things up’?
To mark the first anniversary this November we wanted to do something to remember him and celebrate his life. One of Dad’s favourite places since he was a kid was the Whitten Oval, home of his beloved Western Bulldogs.
So our little family decided to walk 71 laps of the Whitten Oval – one lap for every year he walked among us. It took us about 7.5 hours and about 32kms of walking, but we did it and I know Dad would be proud of us!
What advice do you have to others looking to fundraise and challenge themselves for Parkinson’s?
My advice to others looking to fundraise and challenge themselves for Parkinson’s is just to get out there and do it!
The challenge you set for yourself will likely be something of great personal benefit to you, but the fundraising will be of enormous benefit to so many others. So to give you that little motivation you might need with something Dad would always say to us before an exam or sports game or anything when we were growing up… ‘knock ’em dead!‘.
Could you challenge yourself for Parkinson’s? It’s not as tricky as you might think! Come up with a way to challenge yourself (perhaps you could run, walk, cycle, dance or give up alcohol or sugar), set up a fundraising page and ask your friends and family to sponsor you. As we come into Spring, now is a great time to take advantage of the warmer weather while getting the message about Parkinson’s out there.
Find out more about challenging yourself for Parkinson’s today or contact our Community Fundraising and Events Manager, Isobel, to get started.