Welcome to Marion and Jess who are joining us on the El Camino Trek for Parkinson’s. Marion was diagnosed with Parkinson’s last year but that hasn’t stopped her from enjoying what she loves.
Her daughter Jess jumped at the chance to tag along with her Mum for this trip saying “Why not go to Spain? Why not live your best bloody life while you’ve got it, and explore the world with the people you love whilst raising funds for a great cause?”
What Drives Your Commitment to find a cure for Parkinson’s?
It’s sad that there are so many causes and foundations that need our support, but we only pay attention to them when someone close to us needs us to. Mum is my best friend, and she has Parkinson’s. She’s the person I go to when another idiot has broken my heart, or because I just don’t know which shade of black to paint my kitchen, or I’ve lost the cat in the garden and need to know where she likes to hide. I don’t want her to be sick. I want her to live well forever.
Why El Camino and Shake It Up Australia?
When they found out about the diagnosis, mum and dad threw themselves into everything Parkinson’s: local support groups, local fundraising walks. Mum and I have both chatted about how lovely it’d be to do a walking tour through Europe. I’ve wanted to hit up Lyon in France for years and neither of us have been to Spain, so when this came up mum asked if I’d be keen to go. Obviously, I said yes (and a bunch of other words you can’t print). Kill two birds by walking and raising funds for PD? Even better.
Tell us what you are doing to Shake Things Up with your fundraising?
So far in the past 6 weeks or so we’ve raised almost $4,000 just from creating a Facebook page and sharing it with our friends. I’ve also written a few blog posts for my personal blog (including a dirty joke my mum told me that you’re welcome to share)
I came up with the idea of having some tote bags made up with all proceeds going to our fundraising page. Mum also wants some T-Shirts (if not to sell, then for us to wear on the trip).
You know what? The greatest reward I’ve found so far is the amount of outreach from real friends who suddenly want to tell you about their own family struggles.
A girlfriend I haven’t spoken to for a while reached out and asked me which neurologist mum sees because her mum also has PD but likes to keep it quiet. I had no idea. I gave her mum’s number to pass along in the hopes that they’d catch up for a coffee and become friends. Who doesn’t need more friends?!
Another friend donated straight away and told me she could get behind a cause where people are already doing all the right things and helping themselves and preparing for their disease. Turns out her dad had a heart attack three years ago and we bonded over that.
Seeing the people who have come through and donated is also amazing – half the time its people you don’t expect. Gives you the warm and fuzzies.
Best advice for people looking to Shake It Up?
If you want to get involved, have fun with it. Life is too short and shaky to be serious. Make some t-shirts with silly slogans, bake a lopsided cake for a bake sale, and think outside the box and see who you know that could help leverage your message and raise funds. And join the Camino! I know I’m keen to have a few Spanish wines and stumble through Spain. Mum might not need the wine.
If you’d like to help us Marion and Jess raise $10,000 for Parkinson’s research, you can donate to their fundraising page
There is still time to join Camino for a Cure this September. Find out more about the trip including the full itinerary and tour information.