Simone’s early Parkinson’s diagnosis

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Simone was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2015, when she was only 40.

The first red flag for Simone that her life was about to change was an unsettling conversation she had while working for an accounting firm, back in 2013: “One day my boss said to me, ‘What’s going on?’ He said, ‘60% of the time your work’s brilliant, but at least 40% of the time you’re off with the fairies.’ ”

Simone, a mum of two from southern NSW, also began suffering back pain that kept getting
worse. Some days she couldn’t even walk. Her hand started hurting and shaking too. It took 15
months to find out why – and she says having answers intensified her worry:
“The first thing the neurologist said to me was, ‘Don’t go on the internet – don’t look it up’. It was
really scary.”

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I’m writing to tell you her story, because your previous generosity to Parkinson’s NSW has shown me you share her hope – and mine – that life with Parkinson’s can be better than it is now.

You would help make this dream come true by giving a tax-deductible donation.

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Did you know that every single hour of every day, someone else in Australia will be told they have Parkinson’s?

It’s hard to believe but 20% will be under 50, and, in what really should be the prime of their lives.

Often they’ll still have kids at home, wages to earn and mortgages to pay. And many years of
challenges ahead as they, along with their loved ones, battle increasing symptoms, from tremors to difficulty with movements like walking, speaking, writing, balancing and swallowing.

At the time she was diagnosed, Simone was working with her husband, Stuart in his trucking
business, but she’s had to cut down hours. Financially she says that’s been extremely hard on the family. Her two children, Scott, 17, and Sophia, 19, have struggled.

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Simone was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at 40 | Parkinson’s NSW

“They were wondering how I was going to be with this disease, what was mum going to be like. That’s one of the other hard things, the unknown, you just don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Thanks to Parkinson’s NSW supporters like you, Simone has had the comfort of an expert walking by her side – Nina.

Nina is one of our Parkinson’s Nurses who visited Simone at home, assessed her challenges, needs and medications, and offered suggestions, with one important goal for Simone to reach.

“She’s young and when I first met her I thought, ‘She needs to have the best quality of life possible,’ ” says Nina.

Simone simply says: “I could not imagine life without Nina since I’ve been diagnosed – Nina’s always there and you can call her if something goes wrong.” The mix of social support, Parkinson’s Nurses, information and research funding that your gifts go towards is wonderfully beneficial.

Now there’s a new direction we’re expanding in, a new way your kind giving can bring hope and make lives easier.

Your gift today would help us ensure that everyone diagnosed in NSW can access Parkinson’s-friendly exercise options in their region through a program we’re developing called PDFit.

Why is this so important? Because studies have shown that regular exercise is second only to
medication in improving the symptoms and quality of life for people with Parkinson’s.
It helps by reducing the impact when brain cells that transmit dopamine die. Dopamine is the
chemical behind our moods, movements and memory.

The PDFit program will educate people with Parkinson’s about the benefits of exercise, and
support them to exercise more often and stay well. Annual scholarships will also be offered,
training up instructors to start gentle exercise sessions in local communities. Simone was linked
to a dance exercise class in her town by Nina, and says it has been fantastic.

“Going to the exercise group has made a difference for me,” she says. “There are times when I
can’t walk well at all. The exercise itself helps, but it’s also getting out and socialising and seeing
people. You walk in, someone smiles at you and it just makes your day. I believe it switches on
those hormones that make you feel happy.”

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better life with Parkinson’s can become a reality.

To expand our PDFit program, and continue our other services that help people with Parkinson’s improve their wellbeing

Please give today

Yours sincerely,
Jo-Anne Reeves
Chief Executive Officer

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