Fifty shakes of grey

Central Leader - - NEWS - By MARYKE PENMAN

Don Woodward knew it was time to see a doc­tor when mates no­ticed him strug­gling to bait a fish­ing hook.

Mr Woodward was just 40 when a neu­rol­o­gist di­ag­nosed him with Parkinson’s dis­ease.

‘‘It was a bit out of the blue but by then I had be­gun to no­tice I was get­ting a bit shaky. I had a fair idea what it was be­cause both my mother and her mother had it,’’ he says.

Mr Woodward con­tin­ued his ac­tive life­style and 27 years later he con­tin­ues to play and coach sport.

Mr Woodward coun­sels oth­ers and has writ­ten two books shar­ing in­sights and ad­vice for those af­fected by the ill­ness. His most re­cent Fifty Shakes of Grey – Liv­ing with Parkinson’s Dis­ease has sold well on Ama­zon.

His weekly sched­ule in­cludes a morn­ing round of golf, Pi­lates and coach­ing rugby.

The grand­fa­ther of three has taken on new en­deav­ours in­clud­ing join­ing The Rose Singers choir and vol­un­teer­ing with hospice.

Wife Margie Woodward says he has never stopped do­ing what he loves. ‘‘ He tells ev­ery­one he’s a mover and a shaker. He al­ways gives things a go and not once has he ever said ‘ why me?’.’’

Mr Woodward has been awarded the Ron Green­wood Com­mu­nity Spirit Award from Parkinson’s New Zealand. Chief ex­ec­u­tive Deirdre O’Sul­li­van says the 67-year-old re­ceived eight nom­i­na­tions, the most of any win­ner in this year’s Recog­ni­tion Awards held at Par­lia­ment on April 5.

‘‘There was no doubt in the judge’s mind that he was the per­fect candi- date for this award given the num­ber of peo­ple he has helped, and con­tin­ues to help in the com­mu­nity.’’

Mr Woodward has since joined the Parkinson’s New Zealand com­mit­tee.

A pos­i­tive at­ti­tude and a sup­port­ive spouse have been key to liv­ing with the dis­ease, he says.

He ad­mits there are chal­lenges, but says Parkinson’s should not stop peo­ple from liv­ing their lives.

‘‘My speech has been af­fected, I slur my words. And the med­i­ca­tion dis­rupts my sleep. But I con­sider my­self lucky I haven’t de­te­ri­o­rated too quickly.’’

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