“It hit me like a lead balloon,” remembers Dean.
Dean was out for a run on New Years’ Day 2013 when he noticed his right hand was trembling. He hoped it was nothing but inside he felt a chill of worry. By June, he’d been diagnosed with
Parkinson’s. He was only 52 years old.
“I was so upset. I’d always been healthy, and suddenly Parkinson’s hit and it was incurable. I admit I had a bit of a tear. My kids all had a cry too. They said, ‘don’t worry, we’ll look after you.’ But that
was the problem. I wanted to be able to look after them.”
Dean tried to be strong for his family. He did his best to push on with his normal routines while dealing with his tremor and growing fatigue. But one day a friend asked ‘how are you?’ and he realised he
just felt lost and overwhelmed.
Desperate for help and guidance through his daily challenges, Dean phoned Parkinson’s NSW. That one conversation connected Dean with the team of registered nurses and social workers through the HealthLine.
As people cope with the enormity of a Parkinson’s diagnosis, they rely on help from an understanding team to manage their symptoms. The Parkinson’s NSW HeathLine is staffed by experts who can connect to qualified and vetted health supports. They also provide a friendly ear if someone is down or distressed.
The HealthLine team put Dean in touch with a group of allied health professionals who support people with neurological disorders. Tailored exercise programs, along with regular massages, have helped him fight
the physical symptoms of his Parkinson’s and maintain his fitness, strength and balance.
He began having speech therapy when his voice was getting quieter. This was essential when he started having difficulty swallowing, which can be dangerous and even sometimes fatal for people
Importantly our team of Health care experts also helped Dean to secure funding through the NDIS. This is ensuring he can afford ongoing assistance from a range of professionals like occupational therapies, exercise physiologists and physiotherapists which is the key to him avoiding declines and keeping his quality of life. Altogether it costs around $400 a week, which he couldn’t manage otherwise.
Our team at Parkinson’s NSW can support others to build their knowledge and understanding of Parkinson’s and the therapies that can help manage symptoms. They provide the practical supports
people need to live each day and offers strategies to minimise some of the challenges Parkinson’s presents. They take an active role in educating other health professionals and care workers.
As Helen Keller said: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
Dean’s life shows how true this is. After six years of support from Parkinson’s NSW, he is thriving. In 2021 he ran a 42.2 kilometre marathon to raise money for Parkinson’s NSW as his way to give back.
You can support Dean and his team by visiting his Pitch in for Parkinson’s page at: