Good Vibrations ’24 Shakes It Up for Parkinson’s Research
Tuesday, 2nd April 2024

With Parkinson’s Awareness Month falling in April, we have so many supporters who have come up with creative and inspiring fundraising ideas to support Parkinson’s research. One supporter, Steph, will be hosting a 5km fun run on Sunday14th April, ‘Good Vibrations ’24’, from Nobbys Beach to the Bar Beach Bowling Club to raise funds for Shake It Up.  One of the challenges for people living with Parkinson’s is the unpredictable nature of the disease and an ever-shifting treatment plan. Exercise is one of the most powerful treatments for Parkinson’s, but as Steph says – it can also be one of the most challenging. By putting on this event, she aims to inspire, engage and recognise those living with Parkinson’s disease.

We spoke with Steph and her Mum, all about planning and creating this event, how people can get involved, and advice for those wanting to make a difference this April for Parkinson’s Awareness Month.

Hi Steph! Tell us all about Good Vibrations ’24. How did it all come about?

My Mum was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease just a little under 18 months ago now and it has definitely been a whirlwind for all of us, especially Mum. She has only now really come to terms with everything that is happening to her and started to accept that she has PD.  Good Vibrations came about whilst I was trying to motivate Mum to exercise, we all know how important even a simple walk out of the house can be to clear your mind and feel better. However, trying to get anyone motivated when they are not in the right head space is a challenge in itself let alone someone going through the acceptance of being recently diagnosed with  PD.

I wanted this event to show not just mum but everyone that we are not alone and we don’t need to be embarrassed about how we look or feel – just get out there and have some fun.

Good Vibrations is to give us all some motivation to get out and moving and share our stories with each other and the community.

Liane, what was your reaction when Steph told you about the event?

Overwhelmed and speechless! I am so proud that she has created such an amazing event for so many people who need support, not just for myself.

I still cannot believe what she has done!

What can people expect on the day?

Everyone is invited to join us at Nobby’s Beach in Newcastle where the 5km event will begin and our Good Vibrations T-shirts will be handed out. We will make our way around Newcastle Beach, King Edward park down to Bar Beach where we will finish with a celebration at Bar Beach Bowling Club.

I encourage everyone in the Newcastle area to take part in the fun run no matter your ability. Mum and I will be walking and I invite anyone who might like to join us.

If you can’t participate in the fun run, feel free to meet us at Bar Beach Bowling club for the post run celebrations!

How have you found the process of organising the event?

Organising this event has been incredible, I have had so much support from the team at Shake It Up Australia, and the way that the local community has come together has been amazing. The idea of the event has been on the cards for sometime now so it’s amazing to see everything come together. I decided I wasn’t going to tell Mum until the event was launched, so to see her face when she found out made all of the planning worth it.

It was really nerve-racking to share such a close experience with everyone and definitely would have been easier to continue along a quiet path with just my close family. But seeing the response from all of our community and friends since launching the event has been beyond belief. Already I can see my mum sparkling again.

Steph and her Mum Liane, Dad Mark, Partner Mac and her Nan

What are you both most excited about for the event?

Steph: The moment when everyone is together down there at Nobby’s Beach and I get to see my Mum’s face – that will be my forever moment.

Moving to Newcastle not too long ago, it has been amazing to see everyone come together for events like these. It feels like a family where everyone is supported.

I am excited to meet others who are going through similar journeys and to hear how they have found ways to stay positive through what life throws at us.

Liane: The amount of amazing friends and family who have reached out to me since the announcement of the event still has me in a state of shock! I am so excited to see everyone there all dressed up to support such an amazing cause.

All I want is to get the message out there so others who are going through the same feelings as me can have support and of course for all of our donations!

What inspired your commitment to set up this event and raise funds and awareness for Parkinson’s?

Since learning of Mum’s diagnosis, the amount of people we have met who have Parkinson’s or who have family or friends living with PD has been unbelievable. 38 Australians are diagnosed with Parkinson’s everyday!  When I really dove into the research for the event it only made me more committed to the cause. There are so many misconceptions about the disease and also so many people receive a lack of support.

Of course we are wanting to raise funds to help find a cure, but also to spread awareness about what we can do to help and support those around us.

Liane, what do you wish people understood about Parkinson’s disease?

The most unspoken symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are the mental health issues that it entails. It is so important to keep moving everyday but also to speak with a professional about what you are going through. Having supports in place and tools to help when you are having bad days are crucial.

Everyone is so different and the not knowing what will come next for you is the scariest, but we just have to keep on living and doing our best day by day.

What advice do you have for others wanting to do something to make a difference?

So often I think we feel like we shouldn’t say anything or offer any help to others as it may embarrass ourselves or them, but we need to speak up! If someone seems different or is not themselves, we need to ask. You never know what might be going on.

Making a difference doesn’t have to be on a large scale, it can be as simple as starting a walking group or simply going out for coffee. I know for Mum that the friends who would just come around and give her space to feel comfortable and talk have made such a difference.

Want to attend Good Vibrations ’24? You can get your ticket today and support Steph’s quest to raise awareness and funds for a cure.

Shake It Up fundraiser Steph says making a difference doesn't have to be on a large scale, it can be as simple as starting a walking group or simply going out for coffee to let someone with #Parkinsons know you're there for them. Click To Tweet

Make a difference this April for Parkinson’s Awareness Month by participating in fundraising and hosting a #Pancakes4Parkinsons event!