For the last 18 months Shake It Up Australia Foundation and Parkinson’s Australia have been exploring opportunities to work together for the benefit of the Australian Parkinson’s community. Our discussions have led to the development of a National Advocacy Campaign which is driven by Parkinson’s Australia and supported by Shake It Up along with each of the State Parkinson’s Organisations.
Shake It Up remains an independent foundation with its primary focus to fund world leading Australian Parkinson’s research in partnership with The Michael J. Fox Foundation. However, in working closely with our friends at Parkinson’s Australia we hope to ensure Parkinson’s receives the attention it so desperately deserves from the Federal and State Governments.
Shake It Up is a financial contributor to the campaign (through the donations of our founding directors) and has played an active role in its development – in fact our CEO, Ben Young, currently holds a seat on the Advocacy Committee, which is a subcommittee of the Parkinson’s Australia Board and which assisted in appointing the Parkinson’s Australia CEO, Steve Sant. Ben has been active with Steve in developing the national campaign.
The purpose of a unified national advocacy campaign is to influence action from the Federal and State Governments in the areas that are important to people with Parkinson’s and their families. It is absolutely true that if we are to effect change we must speak with a unified voice. We will achieve more for the Parkinson’s community together than any of us could ever achieve individually.
Naturally for Shake It Up our focus is on seeing more government funds directed to Parkinson’s research in Australia. An increase in government funding for Parkinson’s research will ultimately promote a greater focus on Parkinson’s research within Australian institutes. This will in turn increase capacity and see more project opportunities presented through the Shake It Up funding model. Ideally, Shake It Up would love to see government funds allocated directly to our funding model and this is something that we look forward to promoting during the campaign.
While our primary focus is on research we also understand the urgent need for greater investment in services and support which is why we will be actively supporting the other key ‘asks’ that make up the Parkinson’s Action Framework. The key asks are:
- Recognition of Parkinson’s as a National Health Priority Area;
- Investment in better care and support for people living with Parkinson’s through access to Parkinson’s Nurse Specialists and equitable access to medications and therapies;
- Investment and capacity building in Parkinson’s research.
- Investment in upskilling the workforce to enable timely diagnosis, better care and support of people living with Parkinson’s;
So what does this mean for our supporters? Firstly, you will see Shake It Up sharing and promoting the activities of Parkinson’s Australia and the State Parkinson’s Organisations as they work to build awareness and to advocate for change at a local and national level. You will also see these organisations promoting the work of Shake It Up.
Secondly, we will be asking you to get involved. This may be in the form of sharing important news and information with your networks to help build awareness. It may also include writing to your local politicians and making them aware of the impact Parkinson’s has on you, your family and the community and what we feel the government can do to help alleviate that impact.
At Shake It Up we are excited about the potential outcomes that this unified approach to advocacy may bring and we look forward to keeping you updated as the campaign builds momentum. Rest assured however that we have not taken our eye off the ball. We remain committed to our mission of finding a cure for Parkinson’s and our number one priority is to fund world leading Parkinson’s research in Australia.