Dialog Box

Walking with Purpose – a Parkinson’s story

Walking with Purpose – a Parkinson’s story

Hundreds of people joined the Parkinson’s community of WA on Sunday 10 September at Perry Lakes Reserve to walk together in triumph, camaraderie and connection for the 13th annual ‘A Walk in the Park’ for Parkinson’s WA which produced a significant amount of money, with the final total raised coming in at $47,296. 

Two women raise their arms as they walk together.Pictured: Our community members and their families joined the day out at 'A Walk in the Park' 2023.

You can still donate here! 

This year, the energy was electric with a burst of community spirit as we celebrated the same walk, with a slightly different story.

We were thrilled to embrace the sunshine and incredible weather on the day which saw a turnout in the high hundreds which was joyful and celebratory in every way. This year was the best we have seen in a long time and the feeling all around us reflected that perfectly as we heard from our attendees and their stories about the day and why it stood out to them.

Town of Cambridge Mayor Keri Shannon and WA Labor local Member for Nedlands Dr Katrina Stratton joined us on the day and walked alongside our community as we celebrated together. Dr Stratton brought her dog Millie along for the Walk who seemed delighted to join the day in the park.

“The event saw a great show of support from the hundreds walking and the thousands raised - and the invaluable awareness of Parkinson’s and its impact on people, their families and communities. Congratulations to the team at Parkinson’s, all the volunteers, Town of Cambridge Mayor Keri Shannon and all those walking to remember,” she said.

Mayor Keri Shannon who had supported us last year and was attending her first Walk this time, said she had a wonderful time and was keen to honour the day.

Pictured: Town of Cambridge Mayor Keri Shannon and Member for Nedlands, Dr Katrina Stratton

“Each year, Parkinson’s WA ‘A Walk in the Park’ fundraiser is a symbolic way that the local community, and the greater Perth community, can show their support for people living with Parkinson’s, their partners and their carers.”

“The event is important to me because it represents the best in people - it’s about everyone banding together for a common cause while enjoying some exercise at the stunning Perry Lakes Reserve.”

Not forgetting our fur friends, we emphasised the dog-friendly nature of this event, which saw a number of dogs dressed in their finest.

Dog judge Logan, aged 9, said he was excited to meet with the dogs and decide on the eventual winners of the competition, Sizzle, a Miniature Dachshund with a top hat and red bowtie took out the ‘Best Dressed Pooch’ award, with Bruce taking home the ‘Most Well-Behaved Dog’ prize.

“When I saw the dog with the top hat, I just knew he was going to be the winner,” Logan said excitedly with a grin.

Pictured: Dog Judge Logan on stage with Fundraising Manager Kerrin

Sizzle’s owner Rhiannon said the bowtie was in honour of her father and their poppy and this was a ‘must’ in Sizzle’s wardrobe. She said she was planning some ideas for the next year already.

Bringing back the heat and energy we reconnected with our friends from Lifespan Dance who led us in some wonderful warm-up activities that caused a stir amongst the crowd of all ages and abilities when Michael Buble crackled across the speakers, resonating with our walkers, with young men linking arms and dancing along with the grandparents. We saw a vibrant energy that was both engaging and fun.

Paige said she was excited to re-engage with the Parkinson’s community at Parkinson’s WA’s signature fundraising annual event.

Pictured: Paige leads the audience in a big dance number

“The day was superb. Having attended a number of ‘A Walk in the Park’ events in the past, I must say this one had a feeling of vibrancy, positivity, inclusivity and true celebration,” she noted.

“We (Lifespan) debriefed our part in the day (warm-up) and found it to be a perfect balance of stretching and having a bit of a groove to bring that pep in people's steps, as well as learnings in demonstrating the dance and holding the microphone simultaneously!”

Our friends who donated their time free for the day for our entertainment included Paige and Liz from Lifespan Dance, and the incredible performance from the team at WASAMBA Carnival Drummers led by Dave Swan, who was personally connected to Parkinson’s WA through his friend who lives with the Neurological condition and was walking on the day.

“As a community drumming group, WASAMBA love to perform at charity walks/fun runs. Supporting such events is part of the WASAMBA ethos,” he explained.

“We feel our presence at events such as ‘A Walk in the Park’ for Parkinson’s generates excitement and a real party atmosphere. We can see the delight in the walkers as they pass by, often dancing!”

“On a personal level, I have a good friend who lives with Parkinson’s, so it’s wonderful to be given the opportunity to support the community around this. We are proud to be associated with Parkinson’s Western Australia and will continue to bring the party to ‘A Walk in the Park’!”

Pictured: Wasamba performer smiles before the Walk starts

“We love bringing the energy to the event and we can see that people love it and respond to us in such a positive way. Doing charity walks is the ideal way to give back to our community and engage people living with Parkinson’s to dance and move and smile. It is vibrant and joyful. I am very keen to always be involved in A Walk in the Park and they will continue to have our support.”

Our Walk this year embraced a number of activities and community initiatives and we even rolled out our first colouring-in competition, which was proudly supported by the Town of Cambridge Library, who also hosted our event display.

We had lots of special activities planned and plenty to keep the little ones busy while they waited for the fun to start. We worked hard to deliver a very special community event, and we hope they felt that energy too.

Our very first colouring-in competition winner for 'A Walk in the Park' was announced by our friends at the Library who invited 5-year old Florence to collect her award as she took out the prize for her beautifully artistic piece that exhibited vibrant pops of colour and a whole lot of imagination. 

In-house, we awarded two awards from the day including the lovely work of 5-year-old Harry and 4-year-old Quinn.

Harry and his Mum Anita came into the office to receive the goody bag and they shared some of their family story.

“My Dad has had Parkinson's now for almost 20 years, and we have seen how it has affected him, my mother, my sisters and our families. Awareness is so important, as 'Parky' (as its affectionately called in our house), not only affects my Dad, but my Mum who is his main carer,” she explained.

“The carers need plenty of support too, as they are the ones involved day to day, emotionally and physically. It takes a big toll on them and their lives too. My Dad has always preferred people to ask about his condition, rather than ignore it, and I think that a lot of people may feel this way. It helps him to grieve the part of him that's lost and to feel supported.”

“Part of the support for those closely impacted by the condition, is helping to equip those who are fortunate enough to be only indirectly affected with the skills to engage meaningfully. We need greater and broader awareness and understanding so that people feel they can ask deeper questions without offending, and then truly support those dealing closely with the condition.”

Pictured: Harry displays his 'Walking For' bib as he walks for Diddy.

Anita attended the Walk with her family and children and said the day was very meaningful to them all, which we saw through their smiles and family moments we were able to capture.

We celebrated our very first ‘A Walk in the Park’ Pokémon hunt, which proved wonderfully popular with more than 20 prizes awarded to those who completed the scavenger hunt correctly.

We announced our Highest Fundraisers for 'A Walk in the Park' 2023 which included our first ever Corporate team Magnetic People and community member and local artist Sue Edge, who also delivered an art workshop and hosted an art stall display at the event.

Magnetic People Operations Manager Tamara Caygill said she was truly impressed by the exceptional organisation of the day, and she was very happy to have been there along with her very large group including dogs, family and children.

"The dedicated volunteers who orchestrated the day's activities ensured that everyone had an enjoyable time,” she said.

“The Walk and various activities were not only well-organised, but also filled with warmth and compassion. It was heartwarming to see so many individuals coming together to support such a noble cause.”

Pictured: Magnetic People Team (photo supplied)

“Magnetic People participated in this fundraising event with heartfelt dedication because Parkinson's touches our lives on a deeply personal level. Many of our team members have loved ones who have been affected by this challenging condition including Tanya Pavez, our Managing Director, whose father Graeme bravely battled Parkinson's until his passing four years ago. By supporting this cause, we honour the memories and strive to make a difference in the lives of those living with Parkinson's today."

Our Kingsley Support Group Leader Bev Hannan who is also a carer, joined us again with her family and showed her unwavering support for the day.

"It was a lovely day, which my family and I enjoyed very much! It was just wonderful sharing the event with so many folks there to support Parkinson's WA," she said.

This year, we were very lucky to have both our Parkinson's community member and photographer Dave Morse join us along with our resident Parkinson's photographer and Communications Manager, Jacqui. Dave has worked with us over many years and he has a keen eye for detail, and a passion for the heart of this event, which he delivered in every single one of his images.

You can see all of Dave and Jacqui's photos on our Facebook page through the links below. If you would like a copy of your high-quality image from the day, or you were photographed but have yet to see the photos, please get in contact with Jacqui on communications@parkinsonswa.org.au and she will be happy to help.

View Dave's photos here View Jacqui's photo's here. 

We were delighted to host more than 50 volunteers who donated their time, including our Parkinson’s WA staff, their family and friends and also volunteers from: Beyond Bank Australia, Curtin University, and The University of Western Australia.

One of our volunteers on the day, Libby Barrett-Leonard, said she was pleased to have been a part of such a special community event.

“My favourite part of the day was encouraging families along the course and making sure everyone was positive and happy. It was so lovely seeing so many people come together for such an important cause,” she said.

Our staff dedicated countless hours and energy to the event before, during and after and our Parkinson’s Nurse Specialists delighted in being able to be amongst their people in this relaxed and joyful setting.

Fiona Roscoe said her favourite part of the day was cheering on the amazing walkers at the start to the energising sound of the Wasamba Drummers.

“The Parkinson’s community and our amazing supporters and sponsors came together in great numbers to unite for loved ones and all those touched by this condition. The positive community spirit was wonderful to see and made me proud to be part of this amazing movement and that we are indeed ‘In This Together’,” she said.

We loved supporting our community through their stalls on the ground which included Monique from Waxy Wicks, Irena from Naturenest by Iris, Caroline from Sweet Caroline Chilli Jam and Liz Curtis and Rob, our PWA fundraisers who held a bake stall and raffle to raise money for our service.

Fundraiser Liz has been supporting Parkinson’s WA for the past 18 months through her fundraising initiatives and page and she was keen to lead a beautiful bake stall with her partner Rob.

Pictured: Liz and Rob at their bake stall

“My favourite part of the day was the overall great experience! I enjoyed meeting and interacting with the Parkinson’s families and loved being able to cook and sell my products to the community,” she said.

“The day was very interacting for all, and it was such a success because of all the hard work. Together, the Parkinson’s WA team created a fantastic, vibrant ‘Walk in the Park’ that I feel all will remember with great satisfaction. I also loved Sue’s paintings and all the inspiration she brings to Parkinson’s through her creativity.”

We could not have held such a wonderful community day out without the selfless gifts of many businesses, people and organisations who donated their money, prizes, gifts, and in-kind support including: Constructive Media, Bunnings (Claremont), European Foods, Hampers With Bite, iFLY Indoor Skydiving (Perth), Kamels & Co, Officeworks (Subiaco), Optus Stadium, Pan Pacific Hotels Group, Pet Fresh, Labelmakers Group, Aussie Natural Spring Water, Hertz (Welshpool), Kennards Hire, Precise Signs & Graphics,  Remedy Drinks, Woolworths Supermarkets (Noranda) and BGC (Australia) Pty Ltd.

Thank you to our incredible supporters, sponsors, donors, community, walkers, families, staff, volunteers and everyone who gave their time, enthusiasm, energy and commitment to making this a wonderfully special day filled with light, laughter, smiles and joy. Thank you, from us to you. We cannot wait to bring you ‘A Walk in the Park’ 2024!

Read more about the event here through our latest e-correspondence.  

If you attended 'A Walk in the Park 2023', we would love to hear from you to help shape the future of our event planning as we start conversations about 2024 through our survey which you can access below. Or alternatively, if you would like to be contacted by our team, please reach out to Kerrin on fundraising@parkinsonswa.org.au

Complete the Survey here. 

If you would like to be involved in the movement, we are still accepting donations before we close it off. We would love your support, whether that is large or small. It will all help to extend the reach of our Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist service which is currently celebrating 25 years. 

You can donate directly here 

Photos and Words by Jacqui O'Leary 

28 September 2023
Category: Articles