Fifty shakes of grey
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.’’