MORE than 1,000 people are expected at Eastern Park this September to advocate for greater Geelong’s Parkinson’s community.
The city’s inaugural “A Walk in the Park” event was held last year, with over 500 registered participants taking part to raise $17,000 for those affected by the neurological condition.
The state-wide fundraiser – which has been running in Melbourne 11 years – is Australia’s largest community event dedicated to improving the lives of people with Parkinson’s disease.
Geelong event organiser Kirsten George, who championed A Walk in the Park Geelong, said she was inspired to bring the fundraiser to her hometown after participating in the Melbourne leg.
Ms George’s 73-year-old father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s nearly two decades ago.
“Last year exceeded all of our expectations. We’re looking to double our efforts this year,” Ms George said.
“We wanted to do something to show our support. Geelong has quite a strong Parkinson’s community and three support groups. It’s been really nice to meet others with Parkinson’s as everyone has their own individual journey.”
According to Parkinson’s Victoria, there are currently 80,000 Parkinson’s sufferers in Australia, with 27,000 being Victorians. Thirty Aussies are diagnosed with Parkinson’s every day.
Amanda Bolch, content and communications specialist at Parkinson’s Victoria, said this year the fundraiser is expanding to other Victorian locations including Frankston, Horsham, Mildura and Warrnambool.
“The important thing is they’re all out there raising awareness for Parkinson’s and supporting their local communities,” Ms Bolch said.
A Walk in the Park Geelong was launched last Wednesday at Homestyle Belmont Grange and attracted 40 guests including Christine Couzens MP.
Ms George said in a bid to attract new walkers, the volunteer team is running a Facebook campaign titled “Our family, your family” which will feature stories from Parkinson’s sufferers in Geelong and the Surf Coast.
This year’s A Walk in the Park Geelong is scheduled for Sunday September 8.
For more information and to register, visit parkinsonswalkgeelong.com.au or facebook.com/ ParkinsonsWalkGeelong.