For Grace, a seasoned obstacle racing competitor, Tough Mudder was about more than getting muddy and jumping over incredible obstacles. The race became a metaphor for overcoming the obstacles in life. In the coming years Grace’s dad and her family will face obstacles that continue to become more challenging.
What Drives Your Commitment to find a cure for Parkinson’s?
At the start of 2018, right before my father Wayne’s 60th birthday, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Not everyone with Parkinson’s experiences the same symptoms or to the same intensity. For my father Wayne, it was the sudden onset of tremors. He has always worked hard to support my sister and me, putting in the extra hours to earn a little extra for us to put towards a night out or new adventure. Whilst he is still pushing himself now, eventually he is going to have to slow down, and this breaks my heart. Finding a cure would not only help my father, but so many other families experiencing similar journeys.
Why Shake It Up Australia?
Over the last few years, I have started competing in obstacle course racing. I love it. I enjoy challenging myself to do better, and scale obstacles that seem impossible. I am always surprised by what my body can do if I commit my mind to it. For me, these obstacles are not only a physical challenge but a metaphor for overcoming obstacles in my life. In the coming years, Wayne and my family will face obstacles that continue to become more challenging. Competing in an obstacle course is nothing compared. On 20 October 2018, I competed in my first Tough Mudder. This was an 18+ Km course with 20+ obstacles. This was my first event raising awareness and funds to help find a cure.
Tell us what you are doing/did to Shake Things Up?
After my father received his diagnosis I turned to Google for answers. I found that Parkinson’s Disease in comparison to other incurable diseases, there seemed to be a lot less publicity and funding in research despite the startling number of Australian’s diagnosed each year. Finding the Shake It Up Foundation online and reading Clyde’s story, I knew this was where I wanted to focus my support. The Shake It Up team are amazing at supporting you in your cause. From day one of setting up my fundraising page the team were in contact to support in any way they could, the regular touchpoints kept me motivated.
My family are the most important people in my life and are my greatest supporters. The encouragement and generosity that they shared was the most rewarding part of my cause. Secondly, the feeling of completing each and every obstacle in my Tough Mudder event, and the personal accomplishment at the end of crossing the finishing line and still having the energy to burn.
Best advice for people looking to Shake It Up?
Set yourself a personal challenge and focus on leveraging something you enjoy doing to support your cause. I regularly enter obstacle course races and love them, but they certainly aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. It seemed only logical for me to use this as a personal challenge, to complete a course longer than I had ever previously, and in doing so I was able to encourage others to join my cause, raise vital funds and generate awareness.
There are events happening around the country that you can participate in and support Parkinson’s research. Find an event in your state