Victor Shalala Runs a Half Marathon for Parkinson’s
Thursday, 12th December 2013

This week our Shake It Up Hero is Victor Shalala. Victor competed in the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival Half-Marathon and with the help of his local community raised over $2800! Hear Victor’s story and inspiration here:

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

I have witness my father so slowly and without notice become less and less the strong vibrant man that he was. I just thought he was becoming lazy in his older age and I was frustrated with him and even a little disappointed in him (for the first time in my life). To then finally have a diagnosis on why he slowed down and began falling put a reason for his behaviour.

I felt so bad and guilty to have thought that the man that I looked up to and aspired to be like was just being lazy, I felt so ashamed that I doubted him, it hurt.

Why Shake It Up Australia?

I have become so much more aware of Parkinson’s, it has many forms and there is no cure for it. I know that a cure for anything is possible but just takes time and money.

I began fitness training about 8 months ago just to get fit (midlife crisis some may say – 45years old). I then began running in various events and absolutely fell in love with the energy of thousands of people in a massive group heading for a common goal.  I saw so many sponsors and so much money being raised and various organisations being represented.

When I entered the Sydney running festival I saw Shake It Up as an organisation to raise money for. This was my perfect opportunity to raise awareness and money for Parkinson’s. The Half marathon event was the first time in my life that I raised money for a charity. I was overwhelmed by the support and the conversations I have with those that sponsored me, they actually asked why Shake It Up too.

And maybe most of all I did it for my father and in a way try to redeem myself for doubting him.

Tell us what you are doing to Shake Things Up?

I have been proud to tell people about Shake It Up and what the organisation does. It has made me more aware of how wide spread Parkinson’s is as there are many forms of it. Some people I have spoken with share similar experiences with the parent and they are yet to be diagnosed, our conversation has helped them come to some understanding of what is going on.

I think the best way to shake things up is to have real conversations followed by real actions. I am now in training to enter an Ultramarathon next year and I would be proud to wear the Shake It Up t-shirt again.

Greatest Challenge?

My greatest challenge has been waking up at 5 am 4 times a week and training hard to get my body strong and ready to enjoy life.

Also, the mental conditioning to understand food and that there are so many healthy alternatives to the predominately unhealthy food that we consume.

Greatest Reward?

One of the greatest rewards of becoming fit is the effect that I have had on people around me and how my children look up to me. They have taken heed of how I have lead them by example and have achieved some great goals.

Even to hear of relatives and friends saying that because of my huge transformation physically and mentally, that I have inspired them to become more healthy and make better food choices and exercise.

To have my son tell me (and show me his ripped abs) that he has secretly been working out in his bedroom and to have my daughter greet me, from coming home from the office, with her gym gear on asking if we can do a workout together has hands down been the biggest reward for me…

Best advice?

The best advice I can give anyone is for them to find their own Marathon to conquer. Whether it’s running 42km, getting straight As in their school report or finding a cure for Parkinson’s, if you are serious about your goal then nothing can stop you.

Always have a goal, have direction. In your quest for your goal always remember those around you and enjoy every single day. As my father always said “once the day goes you can never get it back”

Always make sure you thank and love those in your life.

I would not have done anything or raised any money or inspired people around me if it wasn’t for the most important person in my life – my amazing wife, Angela!

Find out how you can Get Involved and help speed a cure for Parkinson’s