Shake It Up Heroes – Maira and Christopher Gee

Maria-and-ChristopherOur Shake It Up heroes this week are Maira and Christopher Gee. Inspired by Maira’s father the couple made a donation to Shake It Up on behalf of their wedding guests.  ‘We had the most beautiful day and our guests were more than happy that their part in it will be honoured long after the last piece of cake has been consumed!’

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

My father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in his mid- fifties, so my drive to support those trying to find a cure is both personal and professional. I am lucky my father continues to lead an independent and active life 8 or so years on from diagnosis, but like any family member I wish every day I could take it away for him – the uncertainty of living with a progressive disease and all that it brings. As an Aged Care Physiotherapist I am also regularly assisting patients and carers in hospital and I can see the daily struggles they are faced with both physically and mentally and while I love being able to help them during periods of acute illness, I have always wanted to do more. To think that by supporting research we may one day be able to say “you have Parkinson’s disease, but we also have a cure” would be a dream come true.

Why Shake It Up Australia?

The fact that 100% of funds raised go into backing Australian research into the disease and treatments, with the amazing generosity of Clyde Campbell covering the administrative costs. This is a foundation I believe will do the most good for those living with Parkinson’s and those that will be diagnosed in the future. We have some amazing medical researchers in this country but ensuring we have adequate funds to support the research is the key.

Tell us what you are doing to Shake Things Up?

My husband and I were married on 22nd November 2014 and while planning the wedding we began thinking of what we would gift to our guests to thank them for attending our special day. We would often think about the large amount of money that goes into arranging such a day and while we knew it would be worth it for one of the best days of our lives, we couldn’t help thinking that if just some of the money we were spending was given to charity, our special day could be made even more meaningful. We made up gifts tags to tie around the napkins on the guest tables at the reception thanking them for being with us and explaining we had donated in their honour to the Shake It Up Foundation. On the reverse side we had the Shake It Up logo and a brief explanation of the aim of the foundation. We had the most beautiful day and our guests were more than happy that their part in it will be honoured long after the last piece of cake has been consumed!

Greatest Reward?

Feeling like we turned something so special for us and our families into playing a part of the future of Parkinson’s disease research and hopefully, ultimately a cure.

Best advice for people looking to Shake It Up?

Never underestimate the little things you could do to find a way to raise some money for this great cause and don’t forget that raising the awareness of the Shake It Up Foundation can be just as valuable.