Shake It Up Hero – Katie Hannan
Friday, 27th February 2015

Our Shake It Up hero this week is Katie Hannan.  Katie’s Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and he means the world to her.  Katie has set herself a challenge to raise funds for research by taking on an event called the Peaks Challenge in the Victorian Alps.  This challenge will see her ride 235km with 4000 vertical metres of hill climbing.

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

My Dad. He’s my number one man in the whole world. Last year was the first year that he didn’t write in a birthday card for me, because he couldn’t. Seeing a man that I love increasingly facing new challenges is hard. Sometimes I think he’s coping better with it than I am.

Why Shake It Up Australia?

I support Shake It Up Australia because 100% of donations go straight into research. I’m hoping that Shake It Up Australia will back some research into the benefits of cycling as exercise therapy for people with Parkinson’s.

Tell us what you are doing to Shake Things Up?

Last year I decided that on World Parkinson’s Day, the 11th of April, that I was going to ride 1 km for every dollar that I raised for Shake it Up. When my fundraising started hitting the $800 mark and I’d already cycled 1600 km since January the first I thought that perhaps I needed to change the parameters of my challenge.

On March the 8 I’m going to ride an event called Peaks Challenge in the Victorian Alps. It’s a 235 km ride with 4000 vertical metres of hill climbing and I’ve got 13 hours to do it in. I’ve been training for at least 4 months and I’m terrified.

Come World Parkinson’s Day, I’ve thrown the challenge open and said that I’ll attempt an ‘Everesting’ of a hill climb. That’s 8848 vertical metres on one hill climb, but only if my fund raising reaches $1111 or more.

Why am I doing this?

Because cycling is something that anyone with Parkinson’s can do. Exercise is one of the best things that you can do for positive mental health.  If you sit on a stationary bike for 30 minutes and keep your cadence high then you’re going to increase your dopamine levels and endorphins. It’s going to help you through the rest of your day by having a can do attitude. I want to help spread the word, so I’m peddling for Parkinson’s.

Greatest Reward?

If I could get more people with Parkinson’s Disease riding bike more often.

Best advice for people looking to Shake It Up?

You can do it, because you think you can do it. Set a goal and make it happen.