Meet our hero for this week, Anne-Marie, who is using the busy summer Christmas season to raise awareness and funds for Shake It Up through her market stall. 20% of sales from the market stall will be donated to Shake It Up, but the real benefit has been all the amazing conversation Anne-Marie has started with locals all over her area. Well done on getting the word out there, Anne-Marie!
What Drives Your Commitment to find a cure for Parkinson’s?
In June this year, my mum passed away, in part from the effects of PD and Parkinson’s Dementia. The onset was sudden and aggressive. Within 12 months of the PD diagnosis she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Dementia. Before mum had PD, I had never realised the far-reaching effects of the disease – it’s so much more than ‘the shakes’. It wasn’t a disease that was in my family history. PD literally ravaged mums once fit and fun personality in the space of 2 years – and I never want to see that happen to someone else. Stiff joints and muscles, but also incredibly painful, loss of balance, loss of facial expression, confusion and then gradually, her voice and ability to swallow properly. Mum always prided herself on her intelligence and ability to speak and think well, so when she would forget words or get jumbled, she used to say to me, “Mr Parkies has stolen my words”. And eventually he stole her life.
With Christmas approaching, I decided that I couldn’t get mum a gift, but I could make a difference to Parkinson’s Research by contributing to Shake It Up.
Why Shake It Up Australia?
Why Not? With all fundraising going directly towards vital research instead of being eaten up by admin costs, I know that the contribution I can make will help directly. That was a big factor for me – I didn’t want to raise funds, only to have it used for marketing and merchandise. It needs to go to research.
Tell us about what you are doing to shake things up?
Every time someone buys something from my market stall, I tell them about the Foundation and the work that’s being done and that 20% of their purchase is going directly to research. Some people have heard of the Foundation – most haven’t. So, if I can shake their understanding and encourage them to think outside the square for Christmas then I’m happy. From this weekend I’m even wearing a Santa hat to attract attention! (and for someone who is usually a Christmas Grinch, that’s a bit of a radical shake!)
This won’t be my only attempt at fundraising for Parkies research – I’m determined to do something at least once a year until a cure or at the very least, more effective treatment, is found.
My reward will be when a cure is found. Until then – I’ll keep shaking!
Best advice for people looking to Shake It Up?
Just do it! Step outside your comfort zone. This has been fun – its encouraged conversation and encouraged me to think outside my comfort zone. While it’s tinged with a lot of sadness for me, I know that I’m contributing to a ‘greater cause’ and hopefully a cure is found before another one of my family (or yours!) is diagnosed with PD.