Our hero this week is Jodi who took on a half marathon to honour her Mum who lives with Parkinson’s. Jodi felt that this was a small way she could pay respect to the incredible way that her mother has had to meet those physical, emotional and psychological challenges every day for 5 years.
Her Mum has often described Parkinson’s as feeling like someone else is taking over her body. Jodi has been inspired by her tenacity and determination to stay positive and active, and to approach each new challenge with focus and grit.
What Drives Your Commitment to find a cure for Parkinson’s?
My mum was diagnosed with Parkinson’s back in early 2013. Like a lot of people, I suppose, I didn’t know very much about it before this, and a lot of what I thought I knew about Parkinson’s wasn’t accurate, so I had a lot to learn. It has been really difficult to see the growing burden of challenges that my mum has had to deal with in that time – she has described it as feeling like someone else is taking over her body. At the same time, though, I have been inspired by my mother’s tenacity and determination to stay positive and active, and to approach each new challenge with focus and grit. I want to honour that spirit and also draw attention to a condition which gets very little mainstream attention in Australia.
Why Shake It Up Australia?
I love that Shake It Up Australia is dedicated to medical research and to finding a cure – it’s a practical and ultimately hopeful goal which is evidence- and research-driven. I also love that Shake It Up Australia has taken the most recognisable aspect of Parkinson’s (the tremor) and is using that to get people to think differently about Parkinson’s and those living with the condition – it’s great to see an irreverent approach to a condition that doesn’t get enough public funding or support. Moreover, the fact that all of the administration costs are covered by the founding directors is amazing, and I know that all of the money I am able to raise will go directly towards research.
Tell us what you are doing/did to Shake Things Up?
I took up running in April 2017 as a way to get fit, starting with a couch to 5km program – and when I started, I could NOT run at all. This April I decided to run the Blackmores Sydney Half Marathon as a way to raise money for Shake It Up and to set a physical goal for myself. I felt that meeting a physical goal would be a small way to pay respect to the incredible way that my mother has had to meet those physical, emotional and psychological challenges every day for 5 years. I commenced a training program and worked up from semi-regular 5km runs in April to the long runs required to get ready for the 21.1km distance of the half. Happily, in spite of being sick in the days leading up to the run, I was able to finish in less than my target time (a slow by half-marathon standards 2:20), coming in at 2 hours 18 minutes 27seconds. More importantly, through the generosity of my colleagues, friends, family and the patrons of my mum and dad’s shop in a country town in NSW, I was able to raise over $3000! My target for fundraising initially was $500, so this was spectacular!
The greatest reward through this journey has been the opportunities for connection that the fundraising campaign and training have offered to me. I have been really touched by the number of people who have donated out of the blue, disclosing their own personal story of having been affected by Parkinson’s. It is so much more ubiquitous than we often think, and the opportunity for people to talk about their experiences with it, and their pain, frustration and grief, has been really rewarding and humbling.
Best advice for people looking to Shake It Up?
Set a goal and get out there – you will be amazed by the support of people and by what you can do if you really push yourself!