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Will and Lisa are not alone

Will and Lisa are not alone …

In the weeks after Will’s diagnosis, he and Lisa privately struggled with the sudden upturning of their normal lives. On top of everything else, an “ever present” worry was that Lisa – who is also a high-school teacher – would bring COVID-19 home to Will.

Will and Lisa’s strength of relationship

Will’s instinctive reaction was to bottle up all his emotions. “And I couldn’t talk about it because I was just really upset,” says Lisa.

They felt so overwhelmed that connecting with Parkinson’s NSW seemed too hard at first. But a friend rang our InfoLine, then phoned Will and Lisa to say how nice the staff were. That prompted Lisa to call us and reach out for help.

Lisa’s greatest need was to find out more about Parkinson’s. A rushed neurologist appointment had left her with many unanswered questions. Lisa was connected with our counsellor Viv who gave her information and some sense of control in an out-of-control situation.

“One thing Viv said has really helped me. She said ‘Don’t try to be the perfect person – instead you need to avoid activities and relationships that add work, or you won’t make it,'” says Lisa.

As for Will, he is meeting fortnightly with our counsellor, Shushann, who has
used role play to help him express himself.

Shushann (left) and Viv – Parkinson’s NSW counsellors

“I needed a boost to get things out, but afterwards I just felt lighter,” he says. “I felt a burden lifted by sharing my issues and not making a secret of them. It helped me face things and I felt validated that what I was experiencing was real.”

With your help, our InfoLine can link people and their families and carers with reliable advice and support, while our specialist counsellors can help people work through a range of issues surrounding Parkinson’s. Sessions are available by phone or videoconferencing so they are COVID-safe and accessible anywhere in NSW.

The support Will and Lisa received is now helping them support their sons – aged 27 and 29 – who are very close to their dad. There have been some tears, as both boys battled disbelief and sadness about Will’s diagnosis. Their eldest, out of the blue, recently grabbed his dad in a big loving bear-hug.

“Parkinson’s NSW has helped us feel like we can start settling into the ‘new normal’ of Parkinson’s,” says Lisa. “Some normalcy is coming back into our lives, even though it’s different now. We’ve come a long way.”

Will feels more positive about the future too. He is walking with Lisa every day – competing with his sons to see who can complete the most daily steps. And he loves jamming with the band he has played “dad music” with for years, although holding his guitar is difficult sometimes.

“As a family we’ve discussed what I’ll do, should my hands start to fail me. I do have some painful days where it can be hard to grip anything. But I’ll keep on playing music as long as I can.”

With your gift this Christmas, we can make sure people living with Parkinson’s like Will and Lisa don’t have to face their issues alone. With your help our Counselling services will ensure they always have someone by their side.

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