Shake It Up Hero – Ally Wood
Friday, 2nd August 2013

Ally Wood is our hero for her amazing efforts to support her sisters battle against Parkinson’s. Ally will be pushing herself to the limit for a 105km Ultra Marathon at Heysen Trail in October this year, but it doesn’t stop there for Ally.

What drives your commitment to find a cure for Parkinson’s?

I am running the longest foot race in South Australia – Heysen 105 Ultramarathon. It’s called Heysen 105 because it is 105 kilometres along the beautiful Heysen Trail.

The idea of running this Ultramarathon came to me early this year, and I knew that if I was to put my heart and soul into something so big I wanted to be sure that it was for a reason – a special reason.

My beautiful sister Monica was diagnosed with Parkinson’s when she was 45 (2009) – at an amazing point of her life when her career was exciting – writing and producing lifestyle television. She had two little girls and a husband that adored her. Four years later (Jul 2013) she has just undergone Deep Brain Stimulation surgery as medication no longer covered her symptoms. To watch Monica’s deterioration leading up to surgery was absolutely frightening. I could not fathom how this disease could simply take over the way it did – the way it does.

Monica has to be the most inspirational person I have ever had the privilege of knowing – even if she is my sister! She is generous, thoughtful, caring, clever, selfless and constantly positive about life, no matter how hard the days get.

As her sister, it has been terrifying at times, heartbreaking most of the time and just simply sad on the other days to watch her life change so greatly over the years.

So, when my alarm goes off in the morning and it is dark and cold outside, I only have to think of Mon and what challenges she faces every day- that is enough for me to roll out of bed, lace up, hit the pavement and run. My challenge is simple really. Just to run.

Why Shake It Up?

When I initially spoke to Monica about my idea of running this ultra, I told her that I wanted all the money that we raise to go toward research for a CURE. That was my only wish.

I know that there will be a cure for Parkinson’s Disease one day and Shake it Up give us that opportunity – to be part of that dream – a world free of Parkinson’s.

What are you doing to shake things up?

I am running the Heysen 105 – Ultramarathon on October 19 – 20th. The run begins along the coast of Encounter Bay and finishes through the beautiful Kuipto Forest – a total of 105 kilometres to cover.

Training for this has been a real learning curve for both my mind and my body. Learning about great nutrition and incorporating various types of running: including hills, speed and very very long runs in my training. Without the support of my amazing family and friends I certainly would not have been able to get in as much training as I have, with a husband that travels a lot for work and two little girls to care for. It has been an amazing support network.

As a Family, we have had, and have coming up, casual days in the workplace for a gold coin donation, a sausage sizzle and cake stall in the pipeline, fun fitness classes that myself and Monica (both being personal trainers) will instruct on weekends for a small donation – all money going straight to Shake it Up. We have a movie night coming up at the Capri cinemas in September, details being finalised as I type… Should be a great night with food and wine included, so stay posted for final details.

We have so many more ideas, so keep an eye on us and our donation page for updates and events coming, we would love you to join us at any or all events.

What is your goal?

Our goal is to raise $30,000. We like to aim high (!) but it is possible, and what an amazing contribution to research for a cure

We would also like to raise the awareness of Parkinson’s Disease

Best advice…

Love life

Dream big

Believe

Be true to yourself

And Never ever ever give up

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