Sally Shakes It Up fo Parkinson’s
Monday, 21st September 2015

This week’s Shake It Up Hero is Sally who has recently become a Shake It Up ‘Mover and Shaker’ as a part of her quest to help find a cure.

What Drives Your Commitment to find a cure for Parkinson’s?

My commitment to find a cure is very personal as I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in late 2010. It was totally unexpected. At the time I was the first in my family line ever to be diagnosed, however my Uncle who is now 90 has just been diagnosed with PD. It appears he has had the disease undiagnosed for some years (due to other complications). So as a family the disease is new to us, but it is not new to mankind. Parkinson’s has a long history, and it’s about time we found the cure and root cause. Too many people and families are affected by it, some far too young to be grappling with the consequences of its symptoms and decline. Most though are older, and they need extra courage to face their ageing without the advantage of basic good health. To coin an old phrase from the early 1970’s …. IT’S TIME!!

Why Shake It Up Australia?

I am inspired by the energy and commitment of the founding directors and those working alongside them. It matches the optimism and energy I see in Michael J. Fox and the Foundation he established in the US. Similarly the Founder of Shake It Up Australia, Clyde Campbell, has turned his negative into a positive, and is inspiring us as a nation. By targeting research into Parkinson’s, and aiming the pointy end of our arrow into this one area, we will surely begin to unlock the information held from us by Parkinson’s Disease for all this time. AND to be funding Australian organisations, employing people skilled and trained in medical research is an extra bonus. The support and extra funding of The Michael J. Fox Foundation doubles the reach into Australian research on PD, and the sharing of database results online internationally is a fantastic time saving resource.

Tell us what you are doing to Shake Things Up?

I feel at the moment mine is a very small contribution, but by putting it together with other similar ones, maybe from you who are now reading this, TOGETHER we can make a difference. I have always aimed at contributing a percentage of my income to charities.  Having retired recently and wishing to still be accountable in giving, I have signed up to give monthly into the Shake It Up Australia funds.  This will be directed 100% into research to find a cure.  I also hope to become a more active fundraiser in the future.  In addition, I would love corporate Australia to take up the challenge in this area.  In saying this, I know that many do.  My last position that I held as a CEO’s PA for twelve years was with a group of companies whose directors, under the guidance of the CEO, sought to establish corporate giving as a matter of course. A percentage of their annual profit was the first to be distributed to targeted areas of community need. And this percentage was planned to be increased in following years. Their employees were encouraged to organise monthly events for favourite charities. I feel this enables corporate Australia to take up this as a responsibility and not just leave it to government and those directly affected.

Greatest reward

The greatest reward will be the eventual discoveries that lead to the downfall of this disease. True, to date we do not appear to have the results we want to see, but we are now that much closer to finding the answers. I have recently been involved in an annual research project, and it is my privilege to meet each year a dedicated, committed team of delightful people working so hard to find me a cure. It is one positive of having this disease, meeting such an amazing eclectic bunch of skilled talented medical researchers, combing through all the bits of information for that ONE piece of the puzzle that will unlock a door. I am so grateful to them.

Best advice for people who are thinking of joining the Movers and Shakers?

Be involved at whatever level of commitment you can offer. If it will be as a regular contributor, then lock it in now. The process is easy (the links are below). If you are a creative, energetic, love people, type of person with a talent for organising events, then gather a team of friends in your community and start an annual event focusing on a cure for Parkinson’s. Melanie at Shake It Up Australia will assist you. It not only helps this great cause but brings communities together to help others. Take that first step now, whatever it is …. pick up the phone, send an email, get in touch. If you’re part of corporate Australia, challenge your fellow directors, partners, managers, owners, shareholders to specifically target something like a cure for Parkinson’s. Look on this as an investment, which will bring a great “return”. How many taxpayer dollars will be saved per annum in the health care budget if a cure is found for this one disease? That alone friends, is an almighty “return” on your investment. But the greatest return will be the hope that you will bring to a community suffering from a disease that currently has no hope as there is no cure. As a PD patient now feeling hopeful, I thank you for what you will put your hand to in this great cause of finding a cure!

Sally is a dedicated member of our regular giving team ‘Movers and Shakers’, you can find out more or join the team here>