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    SUPPORT: Wimmera Parkinson’s Peer Support Group members, from left, Vivien McRoberts, Laurine Matthews and president Rene Vivian, showcase goodies up for grabs in a raffle fundraiser for Parkinson’s research. Picture: LOTTE REITER

Step out for Parkinson’s

BY Lotte Reiter

Organisers of an annual fundraising walk are encouraging Wimmera residents to step out in whatever way they can to support Parkinson’s research.

Wimmera Parkinson’s Peer Support Group’s ‘A Walk in the Park’ event will return for the fourth year, starting at 11am at Horsham’s Weir Park on August 25.

Participants can complete as much or as little of a two-kilometre route along the Wimmera River, with sausages and orange juice available at the end.

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Group secretary John McRoberts said Horsham’s event was a social and relaxed ‘amble’ rather than a walk or race.

He said the main focus was supporting people with Parkinson’s and raising money to help remove the doubts and unknowns associated with research.

“If you can only walk five yards, that’s your walk. You can use your gopher or walking frame. It is a family event. And all the money that is raised goes to Parkinson’s research,” he said.

“We need research because there are a lot of ifs and doubts at the moment. We can safely say that every cent we raise goes to research.”

Parkinson’s is a chronic neurological condition, with common symptoms including stiffened muscles, slow movement, changing posture and resting tremors. A Walk in the Park aims to improve community awareness of the condition and create a sense of belonging for people living with Parkinson’s.

Mr McRoberts said his wife Vivien has Parkinson’s and walks at the Horsham event every year.

He said the event’s premise of ‘walking for Parkinson’s’ was also strongly connected to the condition’s physical effects, with walking often preventing people’s muscle stiffness. 

“Parkinson’s affects mobility. People will walk by taking shorter steps and their body will shake in some manner – their hands or their head. Although it stems from the mind, it’s very physical,” he said.

“So, for people with Parkinson’s it is important they walk because if they don’t, they tend to seize up.”

The Horsham event has raised more than $10,000 for Parkinson’s research in its short time.

In its first year, a group of 20 people participated, helping to raise $1500. Last year, 104 people joined in on the stroll, raising $5000.

Mr McRoberts said organising members were happy with any community support on the day.

“If 100 people turn up, that is good. If 200 turn up… we have to go buy more sausages,” he said.

People can register for the event on the day for $5. Donations are welcome and participants are encouraged to wear purple or yellow.

The entire August 14, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!