Shoalhaven digs deep to help Parkinson’s cause

AUSTRALIA’S first Tulip Day for Parkinson’s disease awareness touched hundreds of lives on Friday.

The inaugural event was held in the Shoalhaven in the hope the rest of the nation will take up the cause next year. 

Members of the local Parkinson’s support group, the Shoalhaven Shakers, held an information stall at Junction Court and another in Ulladulla. Among the information and merchandise they were handing out and selling to raise funds were 850 imitation tulips.

One of the organisers of the day was Jo Szczepanowski from North Nowra, who was impressed with the number of people who visited the information stall.

“We had about 500 tulips to sell at the start of the day and finished up with 24,” she said.

“We met a lot of people, including a man who has Parkinson’s but was in denial. He spoke to us and is now going to make contact with someone to get some support.”

Greig Nichols from Bomaderry, who helped out on the day, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2004 but the condition has not stopped him living an active life, physically and mentally.

“I’ve been doing a lot of TAFE courses, I teach yoga, I swim every day,” he said.

“Keeping active absolutely helps. It’s like they say – use it or lose it.”

Shoalhaven neurological nurse educator Marilia Pereira said the Shoalhaven Parkinson’s awareness day events were raising money for dancercise classes and other support.

“We raised about $2000 on the day. I think it’s amazing. I did not expect them to sell as many as they did.  It shows the people of the Shoalhaven have big hearts.

“The business community also rallied behind us. Coles, Office Works and Shoalhaven City Council all offered assistance.

“The classes are for people living with Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative conditions, their carers and for local Parkinson’s support groups,” she said. 

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