AWARENESS: Tewantin-Noosa Parkinson's Support Group participated in the annual Walk in the Park, but not before a warm up session with KOPD instructor
AWARENESS: Tewantin-Noosa Parkinson's Support Group participated in the annual Walk in the Park, but not before a warm up session with KOPD instructor "Robo". Robert Munden

Group continues to grow support

APRIL marks Parkinson's Disease awareness month and for the local support group it is a chance to raise community education.

Last Sunday Tewantin Noosa Parkinson's Support Group held A Walk in the Park along Gympie Terrace and as the only national event on the Parkinson's calender, it was an important opportunity to raise money and awareness.

Group coordinator Nikki Creber said they had a great turnout.

It was a lovely morning,” she said."We had great support for the community.”

Funds raised will go to support registration for up to five Queensland based nurses to study a postgraduate unit in Parkinson's Care.

On April 11 the group also celebrated World Parkinson's Day, the theme #uniteforparkinsons.

"We are trying to create a wrap-around team to help the 1728 people on the Sunshine Coast living with Parkinson's,” Ms Creber said.

"With Parkinson's there is a spectrum so one person might be different to the person next to you. Not everyone has the visible 'shakes'.”

Ms Creber said group is gaining momentum, and as well as their affiliation with Knock Out Parkinson's Disease exercise classes, now have a speech pathologist who runs the Sunshine Coast's only Parkinson's choir and a physiotherapist on board.

"Parkinson's doesn't kill you. It is the living with it that is really difficult.”

"Sufferers want education and connection.”

Meanwhile, the Sunshine Coast region is now home to the state's first Navigator Nurse to assist residents living with Parkinson's Disease.

But her appointment was met with some frustration for Ms Creber who spent 10 months campaigning to have her working "on the ground”.

"She is going to be hospital-based to deal with newly diagnosed people,” Ms Creber said.

While it was great to have the nurse, she said being based at Maleny Movement Disorder Clinic was not what she expected the role to be.

"Everyday is difficult for us and we want the community support,” she said.

"We want clinics out in the community where people go 'oh it's Tuesday, it's clinic day'.”

"When people are given that support, the depression symptomatology, the anxiety symptomatology that goes with Parkinson's dissipates and people can live a better quality of life.”

Ms Creber said she will now need to look at securing funding for further nurses.