Tristan’s Fundraiser to Give Parkinson’s the Axe
Tuesday, 23rd April 2024

Tristan’s Fundraiser to Give Parkinson’s the Axe

Tristan was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2020, at the age of 40, during the first week of COVID lockdowns in Australia. Following this surreal experience, Tristan has now launched an inspiring fundraising and awareness campaign to ‘Give Parkinson’s the Axe’. Having qualified for the 2024 International Axe Throwing Championship in Canada, Tristan is using this opportunity to raise awareness of Early Onset Parkinson’s as well as raising funds for research.

As a researcher himself, Tristan is passionate about the importance of research to provide hope for the future of all those living with Parkinson’s, and those yet to be diagnosed.

We spoke with Tristan all about ‘Give Parkinson’s the Axe’, his commitment to fundraising and awareness raising, and more.

Tell us all about Give Parkinson’s The Axe – what’s involved in this fundraising campaign, and how did it first come about?

The campaign is a combination of raising PD awareness through social media, with events to learn more about PD and ‘have a go’ at the sport of axe throwing, which has helped me physically, mentally and socially since diagnosis.

How did you first get into axe throwing?

My wife tried it in the US in early 2020, shortly before COVID lockdown and my PD diagnosis. She loved it and it was high on our list things to try once we had adapted to our changed circumstances.

What inspired your commitment to fundraise for Parkinson’s research?

As a researcher, seeing the scientific breakthroughs in the past few years has been amazing. But I am also aware of the benefits of long-term funding for significant research projects that can make such findings compared with short term grants.

Why did you choose to raise funds for Shake It Up Australia?

The generosity of the founders to cover the overhead costs was a factor, but being the Australian partner for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research means there is a level of both administrative and scientific rigour in the selection and management of the funded programs. This means I know the funds that have been so generously donated will be used both efficiently AND effectively!

What do you wish people understood more about Parkinson’s disease?

As someone with Early Onset PD that responds well to medication, my symptoms are mostly ‘hidden’ when I’m not at home. But I do have to consider my daily and weekly plans, workload, etc. and just because I look fine, doesn’t mean I will necessarily be fine in another half an hour.

What is your advice for other people looking to make a difference for the Parkinson’s community?

Just like everyone’s PD experience is different, there are many ways you can make a difference. With my background, the focus on research is important to me. The response to the day-to-day aspects of PD was unexpected throughout this past week! But more broadly, find something that resonates with you; volunteering at events, fundraising for support programs, volunteering for research programs (PD studies such as the APGS require ‘control’ participants too). If you want to help but don’t know how, just ask!

You can learn more about Tristan’s journey and and support the fundraising campaign here.

If you’d like to attend the next WA event – join Tristan at Maniax in Northbridge on 27th April from 9am for a family-friendly, all abilities axe throwing event! You can come and learn, come and try, or come and compete in a tournament.

Be there for the unveiling of the Parkinson’s Axe Throwing Mascot, who will continue to raise awareness of Early Onset Parkinson’s after April on their way to the 2024 Championship in Canada.