Our hero this week was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 52 but is committed to keeping fit and healthy while raising funds for research. If you saw the UniteForParkinson’s video on World Parkinson’s Day you may have noticed the Aussie Parky Park Runner; well meet Stephen our “Parky Park Runner” and passionate supporter of Shake It Up.
Tell us about yourself
I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s three years ago at the age of 52. At the time, I was fit and healthy and at the peak of my career. Starting in the Royal Australian Air Force as an instrument fitter I later worked in top aviation companies in project management, before joining the Queensland Government as a high-level risk assessor.
I decided to take some time off to study towards my doctorate – and it was then that I noticed that my health was deteriorating.
What were your first signs
I had been having trouble putting my seatbelt on, and I had lost my smell and taste, and I was shuffling. After visiting the doctor and a neurosurgeon within two weeks, the diagnosis was confirmed: it was Parkinson’s disease.
How do You Manage your Parkinson’s
I maintain a strict exercise regime, including boxing, bike-riding (on a tricycle due to his loss of balance) and running. Every weekend he participates in the 5km Park Run at Kirra – calling himself the Parky Park Runner.
How are you Shaking It Up for a Cure
I make tables from old surfboards, it keeps me active and I am supporting Parkinson’s research at the same time. All the proceeds from the tables are donated to the Shake It Up Foundation. “It’s hard work, but I’m not going to give up,”